PlantForm launches HIV project
Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
has awarded PlantForm $292,777 to develop antibodies for the treatment of
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The company will focus on producing
antibodies that fight infection by disrupting the virus’s method of entry
into human CD4+ lymphocytes (T-cells).
“PlantForm is pleased to join international efforts to develop effective,
affordable, accessible treatments for HIV,” says Dr. Don Stewart,
President and CEO. “This award validates the viability of our platform
technology for low-cost therapeutic drug production, and we look forward
to advancing antibody production against this target.”
The funding for the 16-month project comes from NRC-IRAP’s Canadian HIV Technology Development Program, part of
HIV Vaccine Initiative, a collaborative effort between the Government
of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This initial funding has allowed PlantForm to hire three additional
technical staff members to support the project, which concludes on March
31, 2013. There is the possibility for application for project
extension beyond that date.
Dr. Wing-Fai Cheung will serve as senior research scientist. He has a PhD
in biomedical science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill and more than 10 years of pharmaceutical industry experience, most
recently serving as a senior research scientist at Transition Therapeutics
Senior research associate Jessica Rouleau will research and develop
antibody drugs with a focus on downstream purification. She has an
M.A.Sc. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto and
previously worked at Elastin Specialties Inc. developing elastin-based
polypeptides for a variety of biomedical applications.
Erin Gilbert will serve as a research technician. She has a diploma
(biotechnology technician) from Conestoga College and joins the PlantForm
team from the University of Guelph. Erin brings expertise in plant-based
production of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.
Stacey Curry Gunn named
Director of Communications
PlantForm is pleased to announce the appointment of Stacey Curry Gunn as
Director of Communications. Curry Gunn has worked with PlantForm since
2010 to develop the company’s branding and communications strategy. As
Director of Communications, she is responsible for advancing PlantForm’s
public profile and managing communications with investors, stakeholders
and the media. Curry Gunn brings 20 years of experience in public
relations, communications and the media to the role.
Join us online!
Get regular updates on our activities and industry news by following
PlantForm on Twitter and LinkedIn:
Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are jockeying for position to
develop, manufacture and market biosimilars, as patents on biologic drugs
worth an estimated $80B expire by 2013. Amgen Inc. and Watson Pharmaceuticals struck an alliance in
December, as did Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Baxter International Inc.,
and Samsung and Biogen Idec.
CEO Don Stewart will speak at the Life Science Innovation Showcase,
hosted by the Canadian embassy in Washington D.C. at 11 a.m.
North America, Vancouver, B.C. PlantForm will present at 1:45
p.m. Feb. 27 in West Meeting Room 101-102.
Spring 2012, Amsterdam. PlantForm will present March 20 in the
2-4 p.m. oncology session.
Don Stewart, PhD
President & CEO
Ron Hosking, CA
Chief Financial Officer
Chris Hall, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer