PlantForm receives Government of Canada support for Ebola antibody study
PlantForm Corporation has received financial support and technical advisory services from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program
(NRC-IRAP) to conduct a feasibility study on the production of Ebola Sudan virus drugs using the company’s vivo
XPRESS™ biopharmaceutical manufacturing system.
The six-month project will be conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
(USAMRIID), which has entered into a Co-operative Research and Development Agreement with PlantForm to execute the project.
USAMRIID will provide the amino acid sequences for a number of Ebola Sudan antibodies, which will be produced in N. benthamiana
(tobacco) plants, using PlantForm’s proprietary system. The resulting material will be evaluated by PlantForm and USAMRIID.
“We are pleased to help in the fight against Ebola, and we look forward to further demonstrating the potential of the PlantForm vivo
XPRESS™ platform for antibody and protein production,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm President and CEO.
The Sudan strain of Ebola virus was responsible for the first-known outbreak of the disease in 1976. The current, and largest, outbreak of the disease is due to another strain of Ebola virus, the Zaire strain, which has killed more than 6,500 people in West Africa to date.
PlantForm awarded contract for anti-nerve-agent enzyme production
PlantForm has been awarded a contract with the Government of Canada to create stable glyco-modified Nicotiana benthamiana
plant lines for the production of pharmaceutical proteins and continued supply of recombinant butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) to Defence Research and Development Canada
The contract is valued at $831,600 and the period of the contract extends to March 31, 2017.
“Butyrylcholinesterase is an enzyme that has been developed as a bioscavenger to provide prophylactic protection against nerve agents, such as sarin gas,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm President and CEO. “We are using our vivo
XPRESS™ biopharmaceutical manufacturing system to produce this enzyme in plants as a potential lower-cost alternative to plasma-derived BuChE.”
In 2013, PlantForm successfully completed a contract with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) for research and development of recombinant BuChE production in plants.
Dr. Chris Hall, PlantForm’s Chief Scientific Officer, explains more about the BuChE project in this Guelph Mercury article