Science & Technology
PlantForm is a leader in plant-derived biologic drug production.
Our proprietary vivoXPRESS® technology platform uses fast-growing tobacco plants (Nicotiana benthamiana and Nicotiana tobaccum) to produce a wide range of biologic (large molecule) drugs, including monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic proteins. See products.
The PlantForm research team continues to advance the vivoXPRESS® system, which originated at the University of Guelph through the work of renowned plant scientist Dr. J. Christopher Hall.
All relevant intellectual property is protected by six families of patent filings, with three patents issued to date.
Key advantages of the vivoXPRESS® technology platform include:
rapid drug development and production timelines
high levels of drug expression
mammalian-type glycosylation (less risk of unwanted immune reactions)
reduced risk profiles versatility (for new product development)
unlimited scale-up capability (to respond quickly to increased demand), and
manufacturing costs as much as 90 per cent lower than those for mammalian cell technology systems.
Dr. Hall's unique "plug and play" cloning system uses DNA cassettes that contain all the necessary elements to produce a desired antibody in a quick and efficient manner. These cassettes contain constant regions (common components) that have been derived from a variety of therapeutic antibodies. This system is designed so that elements that distinguish one antibody from another (the variable regions) may be dropped into the cassettes, making the complete DNAs required to produce a desired antibody. This proprietary methodology, which exploits well-understood techniques in molecular cloning, is designed to use a minimum number of steps for speed and accuracy. The exploitation of common constant regions for multiple products allows rapid production and safety evaluation for a pipeline of different therapeutic antibodies.
Traditional methods of producing protein-based drugs in plants can take several years to produce seedlines for homogeneous, commercial-scale production. PlantForm has dramatically reduced its product development timeline by introducing genetic material to the plant using a transient expression system. After the genetic material is introduced, target protein production occurs immediately and peaks within one to two weeks, after which the plants can be harvested for product purification.
PlantForm has also developed stable transgenic plants for biosimilar drug production and is testing the first products produced from this proprietary system. These plants express high concentrations of the antibody and require only light, soil, water and fertilizer for production.
PlantForm's production platform results in therapeutic antibodies that lack plant-specific glycosylations. Plants naturally glycosylate proteins with sugars that are different from the sugars mammalian systems use, which could make plant-produced antibodies immunogenic to patients after repeated use. Removing these plant-specific sugars eliminates any risk of immunogenicity.