|US$1M Finep grant for PlantForm - Axis Biotec Brasil biosimilar collaboration
PlantForm Corporation and Axis Biotec Brasil will co-develop a key biosimilar monoclonal antibody drug for the Brazilian market with funding from Finep (Brazilian Funding Agency for Studies and Projects).
Finep has provided a grant of US$1 million for the project to Silvestre Labs, part of the Axis Biotec Brasil group of companies. Silvestre Labs will provide a matching contribution of US$0.5 million to dedicate a total of US$1.5 million to initiate development of a biosimilar/biobetter version of Humira® (adalimumab). The funds will also allow the nationalization of PlantForm’s vivoXPRESS® technology to develop drug targets specifically for the Brazilian market with the establishment of a pilot lab-scale manufacturing facility in Brazil.
The Finep funding advances the work of a joint venture between PlantForm and PharmaPraxis, another company in the Axis Biotec Brasil group. The joint venture, called PlantPraxis, will develop, manufacture and commercialize several biosimilar and/or biobetter versions of key biologic drugs using PlantForm’s vivoXPRESS® manufacturing platform. See the news release.
Per Aage Lysaa, CEO of Intravision Group, (left) and PlantForm President and CEO Don Stewart are collaborating to apply innovative LED lighting strategies to plant-made pharmaceutical production.
Plant research aims to boost yield and quality of therapeutic mAbs
Two PlantForm research partnerships are exploring the impact of environmental growing conditions and other variables on the yield and quality of therapeutic proteins produced in tobacco plants, with a specific focus on PlantForm’s lead drug candidate, biosimilar Herceptin® (trastuzumab) for breast cancer.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded $300,000 for this research over three years to a partnership between PlantForm and Dr. Mike Dixon, Director of the Controlled Environment Research Systems Facility (CERSF) at the University of Guelph.
The NSERC funding is matched by $378,000 in in-kind and cash contributions from PlantForm and involves the contributions of Intravision Light Systems, Inc., the Canadian subsidiary of Intravision Group AS, a world leader in innovative LED lighting systems for biopharmaceutical and other vertical farming applications. Read the news release.
PlantForm is also collaborating with Intravision to develop an innovative automated controlled environment pilot manufacturing facility featuring advanced LED lights. The pilot facility will be used to produce biosimilar trastuzumab for Phase 3 human clinical trials as well as biodefense drug candidates being developed under government contracts.
Intravision’s novel LED lighting system will integrate optimal light spectrum variations and photoperiods (the length of time plants are illuminated) for plant-based pharmaceutical production – research supported by a $20,000 grant from Ontario Agri-Food Technologies.
Light can be used to control plant growth and development “to a surprisingly large degree,” affecting the amount of biomass generated and other aspects of plant morphology, says Per Aage Lyssa, CEO of Intravision Group, who has been a leader in LED research and development since 2004.
Intravision will integrate this latest lighting technology and research into a new low-cost, space-efficient, automated vertical farming system called GravityFlow™ that is being designed for the PlantForm pilot manufacturing facility and other applications. A prototype of the GravityFlow™ system will be installed at the CERSF in Guelph in the fall.
Check out PlantForm’s new Biopharming Info Centre for information on plant-made pharmaceuticals, including an overview of their history, the science behind them as well as a summary of the regulatory pathways that govern market entry. www.biopharming.ca.
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In the News
Recent media coverage of PlantForm includes:
Navigating Brazil's Emerging Biosimilar Market
, Biosimilar Development
(May 9, 2016)
"Growing" Biosimilars: How Plants Bolster Manufacturing Efficiency
, Biosimilar Development
(May 2, 2016)
Grown in Guelph: Tobacco plants that fight terrorist tactics and cancer
, Guelph Today
(March 1, 2016)
Read a profile of PlantForm and our work
using tobacco plants to produce drugs for breast cancer, HIV-AIDS, Ebola and more.
“The global biologic medicines market is projected to exceed USD390 billion by 2020, by which time biologics will account for up to 28% by value of the global market for pharmaceuticals…
By 2020, biosimilars have the potential to enter markets for a number of key biologics that have current sales of more than EUR40 billion.”
From Delivering on the Potential of Biosimilar Medicines. Report by IMS Institute for Heathcare Informatics.
| CEO Don Stewart is a panelist in the Tales from the Road workshop
at the RESI on MaRS conference
in Toronto (1 p.m.).