Aurora Builds on a Decade of Global Leadership in Plant Genetics with the Launch of Occo

Published: November 22, 2021

Aurora Builds on a Decade of Global Leadership in Plant Genetics with the Launch of Occo

Aurora Cannabis Inc., the Canadian company defining the future of cannabinoids worldwide, announced the naming of the Company’s new genetics licensing business unit – Occo – a leading innovator in the scientific discovery and commercial advancement of novel cannabis cultivars, backed by Aurora’s state-of-the-art breeding and genetics facility in Comox, British Columbia.

Occo, derived from the Latin word for ’tilling of the field,’ refers to the brand’s reverence for the cannabis plant, and its mission to support the people who grow and consume it. With the largest catalogue of high-quality genetics available for licensing in Canada, Occo is aptly positioned to reach its goals of further developing the scientific understanding of cannabis, commercializing high-quality products, providing value for cannabis growers, and helping to realize the full potential of the cannabis plant.

“As a business fueled by science, we firmly believe that investing in cannabis research and development and the commercial application of unique technologies, including biosynthesis, is Aurora’s true differentiator and will define the future of the industry,” says Charles Pick, Senior Vice President of Science & Innovation at Aurora Cannabis. “Under the Occo umbrella, licensed producers will be granted access to a strong pipeline of novel cultivars and innovative traits that will meet the evolving expectations of consumers. Occo already has more than 30 high-quality cultivars, not available anywhere else on the market, that are ready for immediate trial and exclusive licensing.”

Occo has seen early success, having already commercialized a number of new cultivars with licensed producers (LPs), including North 40’s Farm Gas, as well as three cultivars recently launched under Aurora’s San Rafael ’71 brand (Lemon RocketStonefruit Sunset and Driftwood Diesel).

“As a micro-producer with a long background in cultivation, I focus on quality over quantity and really look for unique strains that give consumers what they want,” said Gord Nichol, owner of North 40 Cannabis. “My experience with Aurora was genuinely positive. We’ve grown two cultivars so far, Farm Gas and Sourdough, and both have been impressive in terms of THC levels and terps. It was a relief to bring the fire to market again – this likely saved my business.”

Occo will be based out of Aurora’s Coast research and development hub – one of the largest and most advanced facilities for cannabis breeding and genetics in the world. The team includes an unmatched group of experts in genomics, biotechnology, pathology, tissue culture, analytics and testing, medical affairs, and product development.

New to the team is Casey Whelan, Vice President of Genetics Business Development, who will lead Occo’s efforts to license genetics to LPs in Canada and around the world. A lawyer by training, Casey joins Occo after spending a decade in breeding and licensing premium agricultural products. For more information on Occo, visit or follow along on Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Occo
Occo is shaping the future of growing cannabis by innovating and improving cannabis crops to be more customer-focused, sustainable, and profitable. With nearly a decade of global leadership in cannabis breeding and genetics, Occo is developing the next generation of new and novel cultivars with improved potency, terpenes, flowers, plant architecture, maturity, yield and disease resistance. Occo has the largest catalogue of exclusive cannabis genetics in Canada, available for trial and use by licensed producers.  A division of Aurora, Occo is building a bright future for the cannabis industry. Learn more at and follow along on Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Aurora
Aurora is a global leader in the cannabis industry, serving both the medical and consumer markets. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Aurora is a pioneer in global cannabis dedicated to helping people improve their lives. The Company’s brand portfolio includes Aurora, Aurora DriftSan Rafael ’71Daily Special, MedReleaf, CanniMed, WhistlerReliva and KG7 CBD. Driven by science and innovation, and with a focus on high-quality cannabis products, Aurora’s brands continue to break through as industry leaders in the medical, performance, wellness and adult recreational markets wherever they are launched. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.