PlantForm, Bioapp and POSCO International sign MOU for Classical Swine Fever vaccine
Canadian and South Korean companies to collaborate in advancing plant-based biopharmaceutical technologies
GUELPH, Ont., May 11, 2021 – Canadian biotech innovator PlantForm Corporation, Bioapp Inc. and POSCO International of South Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate to make the world’s first plant-based vaccine for Classical Swine Fever (CSF) globally accessible.
Although harmless to humans, CSF is a highly contagious viral disease that affects domestic pigs and wild boar populations, causing severe illness and death in millions of swine each year. While Canada, the United States and much of western Europe are currently free of the disease, CSF outbreaks have devastating animal welfare and economic impacts and the disease is endemic to regions of Central and South America, Asia and Africa.
“This is an important milestone for PlantForm as we continue to explore new opportunities for plant-made pharmaceuticals generally and for our versatile vivoXPRESS® platform,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm President and CEO. “PlantForm is proud to partner with Bioapp and POSCO for this project to provide an effective, low-cost vaccine to combat CFS and to improve animal health and welfare in the agriculture sector.”
Bioapp Inc. is the developer of HERBAVAC™ CSF Green Marker, the world’s first plant-derived recombinant subunit vaccine against CFS. Unlike other CFS vaccines that use live attenuated (weakened) virus derived from animal cells, subunit vaccines are formulated using non-pathogenic antigens that resemble the virus protein structure. HERBAVAC™ triggers the desired immune response but with lower risk than live attenuated vaccines. It also contains a unique marker not found in the virus, making it possible to distinguish between infected and vaccinated animals. This has important economic implications for farmers in many countries because animals must be certified as disease-free before they can be exported.
“We look forward to working with our project partners and leveraging the technical and operational synergies to advance plant-based biotechnology to improve animal and human health,” said Dr. Eun-Ju Sohn, Bioapp CEO.
Under terms of the MOU, the companies will collaborate on three projects including: licensing and seeking regulatory approval for HERBAVAC™for emergency preparedness purposes in Canada and other markets in North and South America; contract manufacturing for plant-produced products; and technology development.
“This project presents an exciting opportunity that will help PlantForm continue to diversify our product pipeline with vaccines and treatments for farm animal health care,” said Stewart. PlantForm is also working with scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Western University to develop an oral vaccine that protects pigs against porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and an edible antibody to prevent E.coli infection in pigs.
About PlantForm Corporation (www.plantformcorp.com)
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 biologic drugs for approved and novel indications. PlantForm has an expanding portfolio of patents in seven families to protect both the core platform technology and products in development.
Text updated June 22, 2022
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