PlantForm to receive support from the Government of Canada to develop antibody treatments for HIV strains around globe
Funding will support testing of antibodies in an innovative mouse model
GUELPH, Ont., March 31, 2015—PlantForm Corporation will receive technical and business advisory services, and a financial contribution of up to $500,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to advance the company’s work on innovative antibody treatments for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
PlantForm is using its tobacco-plant-based vivoXPRESS™ manufacturing system to produce antibodies that fight HIV infection by disrupting the virus’s method of entry into human CD4+ lymphocytes (T-cells). The funding will enable the further development, production and testing of antibodies for a potent anti-HIV therapeutic cocktail to treat strains of the disease circulating in Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the developing world. The antibodies will be tested in a novel mouse model that PlantForm is developing in collaboration with Toronto-based Miami Mice Research Corp.
“Our goal is to meet the need for low-cost, effective and safer drugs to eliminate or manage the effects of HIV infection,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm’s President and CEO. “Thirty-five million people are living with this disease worldwide, many of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. We want to see local manufacturing of these novel treatments where they are needed most.”
PlantForm has previously produced, at small scale, eight antibodies for HIV treatment, which have been shown to be as effective as mammalian-derived antibodies against 15 strains of HIV in in vitro testing conducted at Duke University in partnership with The Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery.
Funding for the project is provided through NRC-IRAP’s Canadian HIV Technology Development (CHTD) Program, which is part of the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI), a collaboration between the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. PlantForm has received previous financial support from NRC-IRAP of up to $867,570 under this program.
PlantForm is a Canadian biotech company with a low-cost proprietary manufacturing platform 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 illnesses. PlantForm’s vivoXPRESS™ technology uses genetically modified tobacco plants to ‘grow’ biopharmaceuticals in fully contained greenhouse environments, while significantly lowering the cost of goods compared to industry standard fermentation systems for biopharmaceutical production. Learn more.
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