The Alberta-based company took over the old CanniMed centre, now named Aurora Prairie, just off Highway 16 in the city’s southeast corner.
“This is kind of bringing what is currently quite a good facility up to sort of 2019-2020 standards and then we’re going to be innovating beyond from that basis,” Aurora’s chief science officer Jonathan Page said.
The company’s chief executive officer said this investment is just the start and estimated it would invest another $16 million over the next 18 months.
“It moves us more towards the science of cannabis and making sure that this facility remains a world-class, top-notch scientific medical cannabis facility,” Terry Booth said.
Page said the investment in R&D has three areas of focus – analytical sciences, plant breeding and cultivation and plant-tissue culture.
Analytical sciences will allow researchers to analyze chemicals more closely to help them create a standard for products.
Plant breeding and cultivation means researchers will use the most advanced tools to measure the best environments for each cannabis strain to grow.
Plant-tissue cultures refer to sterile environments so no contaminants affect the growth period of plants and Page said the Saskatoon centre’s research is among the best in the country.
Aurora already has a science program set up across Western Canada with centres set up in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.