PlantForm secures $2M in equity financing
Atlantic Assets Trust Limited of Edinburgh, Scotland has signed an agreement to invest a total of $2 million in PlantForm to support manufacturing process scale up and other activities required to complete Phase 1 clinical trials for the company’s first biosimilar drug candidate, a plant-produced version of the breast cancer drug Herceptin® (trastuzumab).
The funding will enable PlantForm to produce the antibody drug in the quantities required for Phase 1 clinical trials, and to perform the necessary characterization and analysis of the drug.
Atlantic Assets Trust Limited is managed by Scott Investment Partners LLP, which is based in Henley-on-Thames, U.K. The agreement gives Atlantic Assets Trust a 20 per cent equity position in PlantForm.
“This investment recognizes the value of PlantForm’s biologic drug program,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm President and CEO. “It allows the company to take a major step forward as we bring a low-cost version of this important breast cancer drug to market. We’re very pleased and look forward to further demonstrating the capabilities of our technology.”
“PlantForm’s technology is truly groundbreaking and will play a major role in the future of low-cost pharmaceutical biologics,” said Dr. Oliver Mahony, Director of Atlantic Assets Trust Limited. “We are privileged to partner with PlantForm and we are looking forward to growing with them over the coming years.”
New funding expands HIV antibody program
The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) is providing technical advisory services as well as a financial contribution of up to $477,679 to PlantForm for the second phase of the company’s human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody development project.
PlantForm is focusing on producing antibodies that fight HIV infection by disrupting the virus’s method of entry into human CD4+ lymphocytes (T-cells).
The new funding will enable the company to develop an additional three antibodies for production in plants (bringing the total number of antibodies developed to six), with the goal of developing an anti-HIV therapeutic cocktail. This phase of the project, which runs until February 2015, also includes testing a selection of the antibodies and developing a stable transgenic plant host for antibody production.
Funding for the project is provided through NRC-IRAP’s Canadian HIV Technology Development (CHTD) Program, which is part of the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI), a collaboration between the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The CHTD program awarded PlantForm $389,891 for the first phase of the project.
Mind to Market award finalist
PlantForm has been named a finalist for the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Mind to Market Award 2013. The winner of the award — for outstanding research collaboration and commercialization — will be announced at the OCE AGM Oct. 29.
Join us online!
Follow PlantForm on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for regular updates on our activities and industry news: