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Next Generation Pharmaceutical Production System--Plants
Protein-based drugs are the fastest growing class of drugs for the treatment of these diseases in humans and other diseases in animals. The current methods of production of proteins for pharmaceutical application (mammalian, bacterial, and fungal cell cultures) are predicted to fall short of demand in the near future (Rogers 2003). Unlike mammalian cells and bacterial cells, plants have the possibility to produce more diverse and complex pharmaceutical proteins, and are capable of post-translational modification and other assembly steps that are needed for biological activity in complex multi-component proteins. The system needed to maintain and create complex proteins in mammalian cells is expensive and difficult to maintain, which makes plant systems a more attractive source for protein production (Fischer et al. 2003).

Benefits of a Plant-Based Production System
Seed-producing plants are considered ideal candidates for plant biopharmaceuticals because the protein can be targeted to accumulate in the seed and the seed can be harvested and stored for an extended amount of time. When considering a crop as a protein factory, yield is the main quality of importance, as well as ease of transformation and speed of production scale-up (Ma et al. 2003).

Currently, with 30 protein-based medicines on the market and over to 100 in late-stage clinical trials, there is a need to provide a range of options for production of the simple and complex molecules that are the backbone of these medical treatments. Plant-made pharmaceutical production is one solution to manufacture proteins for these pharmaceuticals in a manner that is easily scaleable, safe and cost-effective. In this process, plants are the factories that manufacture therapeutic proteins. These proteins are then extracted, refined, or ingested directly, as the active ingredient in a pharmaceutical application.

In comparison with conventional production methods this process could save substantial amounts of time and money, enable more-easily scaleable production, and provide the ability to produce complex proteins that current systems cannot produce.

Plantechno has developed plant-based production systems to produce high value pharmaceutical and nutraceutical proteins which have potential to improve the health and treatment of:

Those suffering from high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease
Infants receiving infant formula milk versus breastmilk
Those suffering from genetic diseases