Since 2019, CRAG and IRTA have been collaborating on a research project for the genetic improvement of cannabis plants with Front Range Biosciences under authorization of the Spanish Agency of Medicine and Medical Devices (AEMPS)▪The aim of the project is to develop innovative tools allowing for the creation of new varieties of cannabis▪The partnership leverages the expertise and capabilities of the involved institutions to strengthen research and accelerate the development of innovative solutions for high-value crops

BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 10, 2022 — The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) and the Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA) have expanded their international technology agreement with U.S.-based company Front Range Biosciences® (FRB), a cannabis and hemp genetics platform company leveraging next-generation breeding technology. The agreement further builds on an existing partnership between FRB, CRAG, and IRTA formed in 2019 to develop research tools for the genetic improvement of cannabis plants adapted to the specific needs of cultivators in different climatic zones. With this new project, FRB expands the agreement by licensing its proprietary technology to include methodologies for detection of hop latent viroid disease (HLVd), a severe threat to the cannabis industry that can cause devastating reductions in plant growth, yield, and potency. These techniques add to the suite of already existing licensed technologies, including phytochemical quantification and molecular marker analysis, for commercial use to the CRAG and IRTA.

“CRAG is a world-class research center, and we are pleased to extend our partnership with them by introducing technologies and services that will transform cannabis markets across Europe,” says Chris Driessen, CEO of FRB.

The newly expanded partnership provides CRAG and IRTA the opportunity to channel the expertise of FRB as a global leader in cannabis genetics and breeding to the European cannabis community by providing new diagnostic and pathogen mitigation tools. It will also help bolster IRTA-CRAG’s cannabis molecular genetics and breeding programs that harness trait discovery and marker-assisted selection (MAS) to create improved cannabis cultivars adapted to different production environments, able to express the diverse cannabinoid profiles required by the industry, and with improved resistance to pests and diseases.

Spain was one of the first European countries to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis for self-consumption. Although cannabis has not been legalized for medical or recreational use, the country’s Ministry of Health has authorized organizations to cultivate, process and test cannabis and hemp plants for medical purposes. This year, IRTA and CRAG were granted a third renewal of a permit to work with medical cannabis from the Spanish Agency of Medicine and Medical Devices (AEMPS). The permit renewal, received as part of the exclusive partnership between CRAG, IRTA and FRB, allows the collaborating parties to continue advancing the development of medical cannabis genetics for the global marketplace.

“The expanded partnership leverages the technological expertise of FRB and the research capabilities and reach of CRAG to accelerate the adoption of cannabis for therapeutic uses in Spain and across the European Union”, says L. Maria Lois, Director of CRAG. “We are happy to expand our collaboration with such a diverse and innovative company as FRB”, she adds.

About Front Range Biosciences

Front Range Biosciences is a premier cannabis and hemp genetics platform company, creating and supporting innovative new products across multiple industries by combining next-generation agricultural technologies with the world’s top hemp and cannabis R&D program. FRB provides leading-edge solutions to growers, brands, and product manufacturers through its unique varieties of seeds, young plants, and technology licensing to drive product development and production efficiency for cannabis- and hemp-derived products. Since 2015, the company has been dedicated to creating new product opportunities and solving challenges throughout the supply chain by leveraging proprietary next-generation breeding, chemistry, and tissue culture technologies. In addition to FRB’s groundbreaking technology, the company has also established genetics services dedicated to the California market and a Shimadzu-sponsored Center of Excellence with top-tier researchers to encourage further innovation in the industry. FRB is the company of choice for cultivators that demand unique, quality, consistent products. For more information on Front Range Biosciences, visit

About CRAG

The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) forms part of the CERCA system of the Government of Catalonia, and was established as a consortium of four institutions: the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the University of Barcelona (UB). CRAG’s research ranges from basic research in molecular biology of plants and farm animals to applications of molecular techniques for the breeding of species relevant to agriculture and food production in close collaboration with industry. Since 2016, CRAG is recognized as a “Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence” by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

About IRTA

The Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA) is a research centre devoted to R+D+i in a variety of agri-food areas, such as plant production, animal production, food industries, environment and global change, and agri-food economy. The transfer of scientific advances contribute to the modernization, competitiveness and sustainable development of agriculture, food and aquaculture sectors, the supply of healthy and quality foods for consumers and, consequently, improving the welfare of the population. IRTA is adscribed to the Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda (DACC) of the Government of Catalonia and takes part of CERCA system.