Cronos Group and Ginkgo Bioworks Announce Achievement of THCV Equity Milestone

Cronos Group and Ginkgo Bioworks Announce Achievement of THCV Equity Milestone

TORONTO and BOSTON — Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) (“Cronos”), an innovative global cannabinoid company, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA) (“Ginkgo”), the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced the achievement of the third target productivity milestone in their partnership to produce eight cultured cannabinoids. Using Ginkgo’s platform for organism design and development, Cronos has successfully achieved the productivity target for tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), a cannabinoid hypothesized to reduce the appetite-enhancing property of THC. Access to additional rare cannabinoids will support Cronos’ innovation pipeline and commercialization strategy.

Launched in 2018 with the goal of accessing rare molecules in the cannabis plant to create innovative and differentiated products that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive, the partnership between Cronos and Ginkgo aims to produce cultured cannabinoids at industrial scale. The program combines Cronos’ deep understanding of the biological structure and function of cannabinoids with Ginkgo’s vast experience designing microorganisms for the production of cultured products across pharmaceuticals, agriculture and more.

Related: Cronos Group Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Todd Abraham to Retire

In August 2021, Ginkgo and Cronos announced the achievement of its first equity milestone for cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). In October 2021, Cronos launched its first cultured CBG product, SPINACH FEELZ™ Chill Bliss 2:1 THC|CBG gummy, which quickly gained consumer awareness, and according to Hifyre data has achieved 2.4% market share in the gummies category in Canada as of the week-ended June 11, 2022. Cronos went on to launch its SPINACH FEELZ™ Chill Bliss 7:1 THC|CBG vape in January 2022.

Related: Cronos Group Launches its First Cultured Cannabinoid Product, SPINACH FEELZ™ Chill Bliss 2:1 THC|CBG Gummy

“Continuing to hit these productivity milestones in partnership with Ginkgo fuels our innovation pipeline focused on creating borderless products utilizing rare cannabinoids that amplify and differentiate the consumer experience,” said Mike Gorenstein, Chairman, President and CEO of Cronos. “We are excited about the possibilities that THCV is expected to give us and look forward to getting more products with rare cannabinoids into market.”

“Working with Cronos to develop innovations in cannabis is an opportunity for us to apply synthetic biology in a way that is helping bring the cannabis industry forward and make a real impact on its market and the customers it serves,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and Co-Founder of Ginkgo. “The progress we’ve made thus far in our collaboration is a true testament to both the potential of synthetic biology and the world-class teams at Cronos and Ginkgo.”

As a result of the achievement of the final productivity target for THCV, Cronos has issued Ginkgo approximately 2.2 million common shares.

About Cronos
Cronos is an innovative global cannabinoid company committed to building disruptive intellectual property by advancing cannabis research, technology and product development. With a passion to responsibly elevate the consumer experience, Cronos is building an iconic brand portfolio. Cronos’ diverse international brand portfolio includes Spinach®, PEACE NATURALS®, Lord Jones®, Happy Dance® and PEACE+™. For more information about Cronos and its brands, please visit: thecronosgroup.com.

About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company’s platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit www.ginkgobioworks.com.

Forward-looking Statements of Cronos Group Inc.
This press release may contain information that may constitute “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian and U.S. securities laws (collectively, “Forward-looking Statements”). All information contained herein that is not clearly historical in nature may constitute Forward-looking Statements. In some cases, Forward-looking Statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “potential”, “estimate”, “believe” or the negative of these terms, or other similar expressions intended to identify Forward-looking Statements. Forward-Looking Statements include estimates, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, targets, guidance or other statements that are not statements of historical fact. Forward-Looking Statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: Cronos’ expectations regarding the potential success of, and the costs and benefits associated with, its partnership with Ginkgo; expectations about the development of the cannabis industry and potential demand for cultured cannabinoids; Cronos’ commercialization and planned THCV product launch; the partnership’s aim to develop eight cultured cannabinoids; Cronos’ and Ginkgo’s positioning to elevate the cannabis industry through cannabinoid and product innovation to unlock the next generation of its potential; the use of Cronos’ and Ginkgo’s combined capabilities to make the benefits of cannabinoids more accessible to consumers; and Cronos’ intention to build an international iconic brand portfolio and develop disruptive intellectual property. Forward-looking Statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive risks, financial results, results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by those Forward-looking Statements and the Forward-looking Statements are not guarantees of future performance. A discussion of some of the material risks applicable to the Company can be found in the Cronos’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2022, both have which been filed on SEDAR and EDGAR and can be accessed at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov/edgar, respectively. Any Forward-looking Statement included in this press release is made as of the date of this press release and, except as required by law, Cronos disclaims any obligation to update or revise any Forward-looking Statement. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on any Forward-looking Statement.

Forward-Looking Statements of Ginkgo Bioworks
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the potential success of the partnership and Ginkgo’s cell programming platform. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “can,” “project,” “potential,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to: (i) the effect of Ginkgo’s business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (“Soaring Eagle”) on Ginkgo’s business relationships, performance, and business generally, (ii) risks that the business combination disrupts current plans of Ginkgo and potential difficulties in Ginkgo’s employee retention, (iii) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Ginkgo related to its business combination with Soaring Eagle, (iv) volatility in the price of Ginkgo’s securities now that it is a public company due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo operates and plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo’s business and changes in the combined capital structure, (v) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations after the completion of the business combination, and identify and realize additional opportunities, (vi) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology, (vii) the unpredictability of the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for COVID-19 testing and the commercial viability of our COVID-19 testing business, and (viii) changes to the biosecurity industry, including due to advancements in technology, emerging competition and evolution in industry demands, standards and regulations. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the “Risk Factors” section of Ginkgo’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on May 16, 2022 and other documents filed by Ginkgo from time to time with the SEC. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Ginkgo assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Ginkgo does not give any assurance that it will achieve its expectations.