New West Genetics raising $800K to ramp up industrial hemp marketing, R&D

FORT COLLINS — New West Genetics LLC has raised half of an $800,000 funding round that the company plans to use to ramp up sales and marketing, as well as continue research and development of different varieties of industrial hemp.

Founded early last year, the Fort Collins-based company will sell the flower from its first crop this summer to local companies that will extract the cannabinoids out of it to make drinks, oils and edibles. But the company is also developing intellectual property around the genetics of industrial cannabis for uses in the pharmaceutical and agricultural markets. The goal is that the company will have multiple seed varieties available for sale by 2017 that will have guaranteed germination rates and yields.

Industrial cannabis, or hemp, is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana or pot that is used for recreational purposes. Different parts of the industrial cannabis plant have various uses, ranging from food and supplements to medicinal uses to building-material and textile applications.

New West disclosed in a recent regulatory filing that it had raised $200,000 in new funding. But cofounder and chief executive Wendy Mosher said Tuesday the sum is actually $400,000 now.

This summer’s harvest will produce the company’s first revenue.

“But we’ve got customers lined up for the sale of our harvest this summer,” Mosher said. “We’re feeling confident about that at least.”

Mosher co-founded the company with her husband, John McKay, who is a professor of plant genetics at Colorado State University, and Rich Fletcher, who earned his doctorate in McKay’s lab and has worked for several years in the agriculture industry.

The company also has three contract employees. New West is based virtually right now, but Mosher said it could be establishing an office sometime next year. In the meantime, the company has multiple plots in Larimer and Weld counties totaling about 4 acres, where it is growing its cannabis. She said the company would also be leasing warehouse space in the fall to have space to process its harvest.