Sunday, May 22, 2005


An introduction to the Plant Made Pharmaceutical Industry

Ah the plant made pharmaceutical industry (and no, I'm not talking about that stuff grown hydroponically in someones apartment behind tin-foiled windows). PMPs (plant made pharmaceuticals) are enzymes or antibodies made by recombinantly expressing proteins in plants. Such proteins are traditionally made in cell cultures (e. coli, chinese hamster ovary, yeast, etc. . .). However, production using these cell cultures can be very expensive, scale up of production requires massive amounts of capital, and contamination with other microbes of the cell culture is a major concern. With a plant based production system, scale up does not require as much capital, you can simply plant more acreage. Contamination is not an issue as the plants native resistance strategies are used. All-in-all, it has been estimated that a plant based expression system for the production of a drug can decrease the cost for the manufacture of that compound by about tenfold. Over the course of a couple of blogs, I will delve into the details of the plant-made pharmaceutical industry and give you my opinions as to where the industry may be heading. If you want to do a little research on your own, I would suggest I want to now give you a little background into my qualifications to be able to give valued opinions about this industry. I was an employee at Large Scale Biology for almost three years. I chose to leave the company two years ago because I felt that my career was not advancing fast enough. For anyone that has followed LSBC, you will know that the company hasn't really gone anywhere in a couple of years although they have surprised me by being able to keep their doors open for business. I still believe I made the right choice by leaving the company as my level of understanding of biochemistry and molecular biology has increased greatly and I have been able to really study the PMP industry using my newfound knowledge for a couple of years. Well, that's about enough for this installment. If you're looking for a little lighter of a read, try


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