Research & Development 

ENDOCANNABINOID

HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS (EHS)

  After the discovery of two major endogenous cannabinoid receptors in the early 90s, the newly identified endocannabinoid system (ECS) was found to be intertwined with all eleven major body system: circulatory, digestive, endocrine, integumentary, immune, muscular, nervous, renal, reproductive, respiratory, and skeletal. This systemic integration suggests that targeting the ECS would provide high impact on health and society. Our goal is to develop safe, effective, and easily accessible endocannabinoid health supplements. 

[1] Image of 5TGZ (Crystal Structure of the Human Cannabinoid Receptor CB1 (2016)) created with The PyMOL Molecular Graphics System, Version 1.8 Schrödinger, LLC.

A physical chemistry understanding of exo-cannabinoids (plant-derived cannabinoids) has been our main focus, namely crystal formation and purification techniques. Our past and current work with pure exo-cannabinoids and exo-cannabinoid-mixtures is now being applied to develop chemically stable consumer products.

A variety of exo-cannabinoids and endo-cannabinoid-modulating ingredients are surfacing in markets around the world touting health and performance claims. Currently, the evidence is scant for such claims. To investigate further, we have identified an academic collaborator to expand our capabilities into pharmacological and behavioral studies to find evidence for health and performance effects. We are currently seeking government and private funding for this investigation. 

Image by Christin Hume
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TERPENE ERGOGENICS

  Terpenes are naturally occurring aromatic, organic chemicals known to evoke a variety of biological effects. Terpenes are biosynthesized, most notably by plants. Terpenes are well known for producing the strong aromas experienced when smelling essential oils. They have been used as alternative medicine for centuries, with diverse delivery methods including inhalation, topical application, and oral consumption. Our goal is to identify isolated terpenes and terpene mixtures that produce ergogenic properties for their application as ingredients in performance supplements.   

 
It is standard to see a terpene analysis when purchasing terpenes for inhalation. The example here shows a GCMS data comparison of CO2 extracted terpenes before and after vaporizing, where each 2D-peak represents an estimated single terpene. These results suggest a loss in terpene complexity and total amount following vaping. In the future, we aim to help customers obtain vapor analyses using their specific vape device so they have a better idea of what they are consuming. Please message us for more details.   

EDIBLE & NUTRITIVE

MATERIALS ENGINEERING 

  At REPS we engineer novel materials out of a variety of supplement powders. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, we combine aspects of solid state chemistry, powder metallurgy, and pharmaceutical tableting to develop new powder compaction technologies. Our goal is to develop platform technologies that make it easier to consume supplements that were originally only sold in powder form.

Performance Supplement powders, such as protein, are described by end users as being messy, making it difficult to take on the go. In addition, powders are commonly sold in large, heavy containers and bags which are difficult to handle and take up space. Bulk purchasing options decrease the potential for new customers to try protein powder or for existing users to try new flavors because no one wants to invest in several kilograms of protein powder only to find out they don't like the flavor. Making powders easier to sample, with single serving options, is where materials engineering comes into play.

 

Our first platform technology was named SEED-Tech. This technology, combined with 3D printing, was used to develop a product under the brand name seeds. The aim is to license out the technology following successful test marketing in Japanese convenience stores.

SEED-Tech can be used to convert protein powders into a variety of shapes.

This technology is also being considered for future interplanetary travel supplements.

 
Image by Michael Longmire

MICROBIAL ENGINEERING

  At REPS we are working to engineer microbes to produce performance supplement ingredients. We screen ingredient candidates for their effects on performance with a special focus on endocannabinoid modulation. The goal is to (1) develop efficient methods of ingredient production using microbes and (2) discover novel performance ingredients.

To increase yields for large scale manufacturing, we are co-developing materials to improve peptide and protein yields. The goal is to increase the global production of performance supplement ingredients to promote rapid product development and increase the number of performance supplement consumers.

 

apprenticeship

program

REPS serves Japan by mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers. We focus on local high schoolers and university students interested in STEM careers and entrepreneurship. REPS accepts one apprentice per year to assist in career development within the areas of phytochemistry, molecular biology, or entrepreneurship. Interested candidates should email info@reps-japan.com. In the email, please introduce yourself and career interests.

 

Educating and inspiring youth is vital to the fulfillment of our vision.

Image by National Cancer Institute

1. Hua, T., Vemuri, K., Pu, M., Qu, L., Han, G.W., Wu, Y., Zhao, S., Shui, W., Li, S., Korde, A., Laprairie, R.B., Stahl, E.L., Ho, J-H., Zvonok, N., Zhou, H., Kufareva, I., Wu, B., Zhao, Q., Hanson, M.A., Bohn, L.M., Makriyannis, A., Stevens, R.C., Liu, Z.J. - Image of 5TGZ (Crystal Structure of the Human Cannabinoid Receptor CB1 (2016) created with The PyMOL Molecular Graphics System, Version 1.8 Schrödinger, LLC.