European Patent Allowed for 22nd Century's Nicotine Biosynthesis Genes
22nd Century Group, Inc. (OTCBB: XXII) today announced that the European Patent Office issued a Notice of Grant to the company for the NBB and A622 genes. Both genes are responsible for nicotine production in the tobacco plant. International Patent Application PCT/IB2006/004043, from which European Patent Application No. 06848676.0 was derived, covers methods for producing tobacco plants with increased nicotine levels and tobacco plants and products produced therefrom. Patents will be issued by the European Patent Office in countries selected by 22nd Century within the next few months and will expire in September 2026.
Dr. Takashi Hashimoto of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), a world-renowned plant molecular biologist, is an inventor of the technology. 22nd Century funded research and development at NAIST from 2005 to 2009 and NAIST assigned various related patent families to 22nd Century in 2010, including the NBB and A622 technologies. International Patent Application PCT/IB2006/001741 covers methods utilizing NBB and A622 for producing tobacco plants and products with decreased nicotine levels.
The NBB gene encodes a protein involved in the final step of nicotine biosynthesis, “nicotine synthase,” which has eluded scientists for decades. This protein can either be down-regulated or up-regulated to produce tobacco varieties with a wide range of nicotine levels.
The company’s vice president of research and development, Dr. Michael Moynihan stated, “The NBB gene technology is one of the keystones of 22nd Century’s intellectual property and represents our second-generation gene technology that has significant advantages over our earlier technology.” Specifically, the sole function of NBB is to produce nicotine and other nicotinic alkaloids.
XXII has a monopoly on very low nicotine technology and the patents prove it. The FDA called *us* to learn about our technology and already bought our SPECTRUM cigarettes for research.
An excerpt from the SA Interview w/: CEO Joe Pandolfino and President Henry Sicignano:
Henry: Our biggest opportunity is with an FDA cleared, modified risk cigarette. In 2014, we will be submitting two applications for modified risk cigarettes to the FDA, one will be for a very low nicotine cigarette, and the other will be for a low tar-to-nicotine ratio cigarette that uses a relatively higher nicotine tobacco. If the FDA gives us modified risk authorization for only one of the two cigarettes, it would likely immediately increase our market capitalization by many fold of what it is today. Right now, three quarters of the US cigarette market consists of cigarettes that were previously labeled "light," "ultra-light," or "low tar." These can no longer be marketed or labeled with these descriptors because the FDA has determined that these types of cigarettes can actually be more harmful than a full flavor cigarette. So three quarters of the market wants to smoke a less harmful cigarette. If we become the first company, and perhaps the only company authorized by the FDA to sell a modified risk cigarette, over $60 billion of the $80 billion US market could be up for grabs. This is an opportunity where Big Tobacco and every large distributor in the country would want our brands. *That's an overnight billion-dollar opportunity*.