Demetrix raises $50 million to brew cannabis

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With skyrocketing demand for consumer products and renewed research into its medicinal value, cannabis is having a moment.

The quasi-legalization of marijuana created a gold rush for the industry, and startups like Demetrix are reaping the benefits.

The company, founded by the famed U.C. Berkeley researcher Jay Keasling and helmed by former Amyris executive Jeff Ubersax just raised $50 million in a new round of financing to continue its pursuit of isolating and brewing cannabinoids, the active chemical ingredients in the marijuana plant.

The money came from previous investor Horizons Ventures, the Hong Kong-based firm backed by real estate billionaire Li Ka-shing, and Tuatara Capital, a fund which invests in the legal cannabis industry.

The idea of using yeast to brew cannabinoids isn’t a new one, and there are several companies active in the space. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug based on one of the cannabinoids that’s found in marijuana, interest in the potential to identify and manufacture other pharmaceutically beneficial chemicals from the plant has grown.

Demetrix’s competitive advantage, according to Ubersax, is the company’s access to an exclusive license on Keasling’s research from Berkeley. The technology Keasling developed gives the company

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