22nd Century says BAT low nicotine license ends

Plant biotechnology company 22nd Century Group, which produces low nicotine tobacco plants, said the 2013 Research License and Commercial Option Agreement between 22nd Century and British American Tobacco (Investments) Limited (BAT) is now finished.

“BAT no longer has rights to any intellectual property or other assets of 22nd Century; 22nd Century is now again in sole control of the company’s highly disruptive intellectual property portfolio relating to the ability to grow patent-protected Very Low Nicotine tobacco plants,” said 22nd Century.

“Accordingly, the company has recommenced discussions with global tobacco companies and international pharmaceutical companies that have expressed strong interest in a business relationship with 22nd Century but were, until now, unable to enter into a licensing agreement with 22nd Century due to restrictive covenants contained in the BAT agreement.

“Under the restrictive terms of the BAT agreement, annual royalties to 22nd Century were capped at $25 million per year.

“Now that the agreement has been terminated, the company is free to engage in licensing agreements and strategic partnerships with any and all tobacco companies – with no restrictions, limits, or ‘caps’ on licensing royalties.

“This development is especially significant in light of the announcement made at the end of July by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

22nd Century said that on July 28, 2017, the FDA announced that it is exercising its authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to mandate lower nicotine – at minimally or non-addictive levels – in all combustible cigarettes sold in the United States.

22nd Century said it is capable of growing tobacco with a mere 0.4mg/g nicotine content – a 95% reduction in nicotine.