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Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(31):5478-85.

Target product selection - where can Molecular Pharming make the difference?

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1
The Molecular Immunology Unit, Infection and Immunity Research Centre, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Four major developments have taken place in the world of Molecular Pharming recently. In the USA, the DARPA initiative challenged plant biotechnology companies to develop strategies for the large-scale manufacture of influenza vaccines, resulting in a successful Phase I clinical trial; in Europe the Pharma-Planta academic consortium gained regulatory approval for a plant-derived monoclonal antibody and completed a first-in-human phase I clinical trial; the Dutch pharmaceutical company Synthon acquired the assets of Biolex Therapeutics, an established Molecular Pharming company with several clinical candidates produced in their proprietary LEX system based on aquatic plants; and finally, the Israeli biotechnology company Protalix Biotherapeutics won FDA approval for the commercial release of a recombinant form of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase produced in carrot cells, the first plant biotechnology-derived biopharmaceutical in the world approved for the market. Commercial momentum is gathering pace with additional candidates now undergoing or awaiting approval for phase III clinical trials. Filling the product pipeline is vital to establish commercial sustainability, and the selection of appropriate target products for Molecular Pharming will be a critical factor. An interesting feature of the four stories outlined above is that they span the use of very different platform technologies addressing different types of molecules which aim to satisfy distinct market demands. In each case, Molecular Pharming was an economically and technically suitable approach, but this decisionmaking process is not necessarily straightforward. Although the various technologies available to Molecular Pharming are broad ranging and flexible, competing technologies are better established, so there needs to be a compelling reason to move into plants. It is most unlikely that plant biotechnology will be the answer for the whole biologics field. In this article, we discuss the current plant biotechnology approaches that appear to hold the greatest promise and in doing so attempt to define the product areas that are most likely to benefit from different Molecular Pharming technologies.

PMID:
23394563
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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