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Molecular Farming Fits Need for Fully Functional Protein Therapeutics and Low-Cost Vaccines

Published: Monday, June 24, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, June 24, 2013
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Technology gains momentum through collaborations and licensing deals.

Molecular farming is poised to address the huge demand for fully functional protein therapeutics and low-cost vaccines. This plant production technology is deployable for applications in basic life sciences research, veterinary applications, personal care, and healthcare to meet the clinical needs of chronic and orphan diseases unmet by the current supply.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s (HYPERLINK Emerging Trends in Molecular Farming research finds plants are preferred production systems owing to their potential to produce a wide range of recombinant molecules.

Post-translational modifications in plants allow for their use in the production of complex proteins, giving them an edge over conventional bacterial systems.

“Plant farming offers a cost-effective platform for recombinant protein production, especially as setting up a plant-based platform requires low costs and provides flexibility,” says a Technical Insights analyst. “These benefits prompted research on novel plant-based platforms, process design and optimization, and will lead to the development of sustainable and scalable production systems.”

However, stringent regulations, possible safety issues and the lack of participation from stakeholders pose a challenge to technology development and adoption.

Recombinant proteins’ post-translational modifications and minor glycosylation differences from human proteins may lead to a loss in functions or immune reactions, and can reduce drug performance and safety.

These barriers have compelled several researchers to work on glycosylation modified plants to create suitable, humanized glycoengineered therapeutic proteins.

In addition, researchers must focus on improving downstream processing methods to significantly shrink overall costs associated, and develop targeting strategies for protein secretion in the culture medium.

"Techniques such as strong promoters and fusion protein expression can be used to improve expression levels,” notes the analyst. “Core expression technology developers must also leverage DNA transfection, the development of gene knockout plants and similar bioprocess techniques to build proteins with enhanced therapeutic and economic value.”

Though molecular farming is not fully mature, the technology will gain momentum through collaborations and licensing deals.

Emerging Trends in Molecular Farming, part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides the research portfolio of various molecular farming technologies and platforms, research orientation based on applications, key technical and industry challenges for molecular farming initiatives and research, key drivers, market needs from plant production systems and R&D focus areas for researchers and companies, and recent partnerships and alliances.

Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters and research services.

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