University of New Mexico researcher partners with PlantForm on Filoviridae glycoprotein project

Contract will evaluate expression of nine unique glycoproteins in PlantForm’s vivoXPRESS® biopharmaceutical manufacturing system

December 13, 2016

A University of New Mexico scientist is partnering with PlantForm Corporation to advance research aimed at improving understanding of Ebola virus and improving existing vaccines by inducing more effective immune responses to infection.
The project will employ PlantForm’s tobacco-plant-based vivoXPRESS® biopharmaceutical manufacturing system to express up to nine unique glycoproteins found on Filoviridae, the family of viruses that cause Ebola and Marburg disease, two severe and often fatal viral hemorrhagic fevers that afflict humans and non-human primates.
The three-month project with Dr. Steven Bradfute builds upon PlantForm’s recent collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). That project successfully demonstrated that antibodies produced using vivoXPRESS® neutralized the Sudan strain of Ebola as effectively as antibodies produced in other manufacturing systems.
“We’re pleased to be able to contribute to improved understanding of the mechanisms of Ebola infection,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm’s President and CEO. “We look forward to developing more effective treatments for these deadly diseases.”
The glycoproteins to be expressed in this project are molecules found on the surface of five different types of filoviruses. They help protect the genetic material of the virus particle until it is ready to infect a suitable host, and play a key role in attachment and fusion with the host cell.
Bradfute’s work focuses on immune responses and vaccination strategies related to hemorrhagic fever viruses, including trying to understand how Ebola is able to block the body’s defences. Because all potential Ebola vaccines work by triggering an immune response to glycoprotein, Bradfute will use the glycoproteins produced by PlantForm in studies aimed at modifying glycoprotein so that it triggers a more effective immune response.

About PlantForm Corporation (
PlantForm is a Canadian biotech company with a low-cost proprietary manufacturing process for a wide range of plant-made pharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic proteins and vaccines for the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Ebola and other life-threatening conditions. The company’s vivoXPRESS® technology uses genetically engineered tobacco plants to produce biopharmaceuticals in less than six weeks at a significantly lower cost of goods compared to industry standard fermentation systems. Learn more.

For more information, please contact:
Don Stewart
President and CEO
PlantForm Corporation
(416) 452-7242
Stacey Curry Gunn
Director of Communications
PlantForm Corporation
(519) 827-1131

Dr. Steven Bradfute
Assistant Professor
UNM Center for Global Health and Department of Internal Medicine
(505) 925-1021

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