Construction to start on new facility for biopharmaceutical innovation and pilot manufacturing in Brazil

Funding from Finep supports pilot production facility for key biosimilar and biobetter biological drugs for the Brazilian market

June 19, 2017

GUELPH, Ont., Canada and RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Construction will begin this summer on a state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical lab and pilot production facility in Rio de Janeiro that will support the development of key biosimilar and biobetter protein drugs for the Brazilian market, through a joint venture between Canadian biotech company PlantForm Corporation and Brazil-based Axis Biotec Brasil.

The new laboratory and manufacturing facility, supported by funding from Finep (Brazilian Funding Agency for Studies and Projects) is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. It marks a major milestone in an initiative first announced last year, when Finep provided a US$1-million grant to Silvestre Labs, part of the Axis Biotec Brasil group of companies. The joint venture, called PlantPraxis, will first develop a biosimilar version of adalimumab (Humira®) for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.

“We’re very pleased to be moving forward with this exciting initiative, which will benefit many of the estimated 13 million people in Brazil who require treatment with monoclonal antibody drugs,” said Eduardo Cruz, founder and CEO of Axis Biotec Brasil. “We look forward to working with the PlantForm team to continue advancing our plans to make affordable biopharmaceuticals available to millions of Brazilians.”

The new facility will be operational in 2018, focused initially on adalimumab with several additional biological targets in the pipeline.

“Brazil is the seventh largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world and construction of the new PlantPraxis facility advances PlantForm’s global strategy for biosimilar drug development,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm’s President and CEO.

PlantForm’s Brazilian arm, PlantForm do Brasil, launched the joint venture with PharmaPraxis (part of the Axis Biotec Brasil group) three years ago to develop and commercialize biosimilar and/or biobetter versions of key biologic drugs using the vivoXPRESS® manufacturing platform for plant-made pharmaceuticals. The long-term goal is to establish a commercial scale manufacturing plant in Brazil to serve the South American market, and a facility in Canada for the North American and European markets.

“Construction of the new pilot facility is another major step forward in what has been a highly productive collaboration,” said Stewart. “It allows us to further our efforts to bring these important specialty drugs to more patients all over the world.”  

About PlantForm Corporation (
PlantForm Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the rapid development and production of specialty antibody and protein drugs using the company’s proprietary vivoXPRESS® platform. The plant-based vivoXPRESS® system makes it easier, faster and less expensive to produce approved biologic drugs for novel indications and new markets. The company’s pipeline includes trastuzumab for a novel indication in nerve regeneration; a biosimilar version of Lucentis®; other biobetter drugs for niche indications; and medical countermeasures to terrorism threats such as ricin and sarin. Learn more.

About Axis Biotec Brasil and PharmaPraxis (
Axis Biotec Brasil is a holding company, which sponsors and manages research, development and innovative business in health and life sectors. In the last 30 years, Axis Biotec group has proven to be efficient in translating research into innovative products and services. PharmaPraxis is the biopharmaceutical company of the group focused on R&D, manufacturing and commercializing biosimilar and innovator biologic drugs, pharmacogenomic and genetic kits, and alternative routes for biopharmaceutical expression. Companies that are also part of Axis Biotec Brasil group are Silvestre Labs, Cryopraxis and CellPraxis. Learn more.

For more information, please contact:
Don Stewart

President and CEO
PlantForm Corp.
+1 416-452-7242
Eduardo Cruz
Founder & CEO
Axis Biotec Brasil
+55 21 3035 69 50
Stacey Curry Gunn
Director of Communications
PlantForm Corp.
+1 519-827-1131

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