Making life-saving antibody medicine more affordable
PlantForm Corporation is a Canadian biotech company with a low-cost, proprietary manufacturing platform for a wide range of plant-made pharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic proteins and vaccines for the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Ebola and other life-threatening illnesses.
The company’s vivoXPRESS™ technology uses genetically modified tobacco plants to ‘grow’ biopharmaceuticals in fully contained greenhouse environments. vivoXPRESS™ provides several advantages over mammalian-cell and other fermentation systems used to produce most biologic drugs on the market today: it’s fast, efficient, highly versatile (for new product development) and readily scalable. Best of all, it’s capable of reducing manufacturing costs for life-saving biologic drugs by up to 90 per cent compared to other systems.
PlantForm licenses its technology from the University of Guelph, where it was developed by Dr. J. Christopher Hall, a PlantForm founder and the company’s Chief Scientific Officer. All relevant intellectual property is protected by patent filings.
The company’s first product will be a plant-produced (biosimilar) version of the breast cancer drug Herceptin®, the brand name for trastuzumab.
Proof-of-principle lab studies, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, show PlantForm’s biosimilar trastuzumab has equivalent purity and activity compared to Herceptin®. Animal efficacy studies show that PlantForm's drug is as effective as the commercial antibody in reducing the size and growth rate of breast cancer tumours. Learn more.
Herceptin® has global sales of $6.8 billion annually, and its patents began to expire in 2014. PlantForm aims to launch biosimilar trastuzumab, in partnership with a pharmaceutical company, in world markets, beginning in Europe in 2018. PlantForm management estimates the total market potential for all biosimilar trastuzumab products is $4 billion to $5 billion a year by 2019.
PlantForm is also developing biosimilar versions of two additional oncology drugs that have combined annual global sales of up to $10.6 billion (2013).
PlantForm's pipeline also includes:
The company has offices in Guelph (headquarters), Toronto and Sarnia, and in San Francisco, California, USA.