The latest addition to the burgeoning marijuana industry is agricultural innovation company Arcadia Biosciences (RKDA), which has set up a new unit to optimize the quality, yield and climate resiliency of cannabis. The new segment, Arcadia Specialty Genomics, will have Arcadia Chief Financial Officer Matt Plavan as its President.
Investors went gung-ho over the announcement, sending the stock up 68% during pre-market trading on Thursday.
Arcadia, whose primary operations involve developing and marketing proprietary breeding techniques for a slew of crops, said the weed unit would focus on the hemp market in the initial stages. The Davis, California-based firm added that its weed operations would be limited to regions that have legalized its use.
CEO Raj Ketkar said, “With this new operating unit, Arcadia Specialty Genomics, we are uniquely qualified as a proven crop improvement company equipped to address the legacy challenges facing a plant that until recently was largely grown unlawfully.”
The company is hoping to develop novel cannabis varieties using its advanced screening and breeding tech called tilling and gene editing.
Matt Plavan said, “Our near-term focus will be acquiring federal and state licensure in key geographies to launch our research and pilot programs, for which we expect to begin operations in early 2019.”
Despite being a budding industry, the marijuana sector has been witnessing astounding growth over the past few years. Market research firm Brightfield Group estimates cannabis sales to touch $22 billion by 2022.
Meanwhile, according to The Hemp Business Journal, the hemp CBD market had totaled $190 million last year.