On December 31, 2020, Core One Labs announced the acquisition of Vocan Bio Inc.. As discussed below, the deal appears to center around intellectual property. Through the deal, Core One Labs acquired Vocan’s patent pending biosynthetic method of producing API grade psilocybin. Core One Labs intends to leverage this patentable technology and also develop more IP as part of its acquisition of Vocan Bio Inc.. Notable, neither Core One Labs nor Vocan have any granted patents or published patent applications assigned to them. See also Tips on Evaluating Psychedelic Patents.
According to Core One’s press release, “The acquisition of Vocan gives the Company [Core One] all the necessary licensing and research facilities to continue the development of psilocybin as an alternative therapy.” Here, the research facilities seem relevant to developing new technology but it is unclear what licensing facilities would be necessary to that development.
Core One further explains that “Vocan’s leading research team, led by Dr. Hancock, combined with its intellectual property to produce and patent biosynthesized API grade psilocybin, positions Core One as a leader in the psychedelic space.” Here, it seems clear that Core One has purchased Vocan’s (potentially patentable) biosynthetic methods. However, it remains unclear how those methods could be used to patent API grade psilocybin, which is a known molecule (i.e., not “new”). Others have developed new crystalline forms (e.g., Compass) or combinations of mushroom extracts from different species (e.g., Paul Stamets) but the press release does not offer clues as to whether Core One has plans to make new forms of psilocybin.
Core One further explains, “If Vocan can produce psilocybin at scale [via a patentable method], it has the potential to provide products at a lower cost than every other company, disrupting the entire industry.” This statement suggests that Core One could make psilocybin cheaply (via a patented method) and leverage their competitive advantage despite not having a patent on the resulting compound, psilocybin which is in the public domain. This is consistent with the following statement from Core One: “Vocan’s team of scientists, specializing in protein expression and biosynthetic fermentation, have discovered a patentable method of producing psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychotropic mushrooms.” (Notably, psilocybin is not the only active ingredient in psychotropic mushrooms.)
Aside from the acquisition of Vocan, Core One Labs “has developed a patent pending thin film oral strip which dissolves instantly when placed in the mouth and delivers organic molecules in precise quantities to the bloodstream, maintaining excellent bioavailability. With this technology, the Company intends to further develop its IP technology to focus on delivering psychedelic molecules with an initial focus on psilocybin.” Apparently Core Labs intends to use its newly acquired methods of making psilocybin to source the active compounds needed for its thin film oral strips.