In the midst of new emerging therapy projects under development, the progress of innovative manufacturing technologies is also growing. One of the newest emerging platforms for biologics manufacturing is the plant-made pharmaceutical platform (PMP). PMP has come on stage recently with the approval of Canada-based Medicago’s COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, COVIFENZ (plant-based virus-like particles, recombinant, adjuvanted) (1).
The wave of acceptance that has arisen with other platforms, such as baculovirus and messenger RNA, adds to the dominant mammalian cell systems. Plant-made pharmaceuticals will likely be added to the mix, according to Barry Holtz, chief scientific officer, Phylloceuticals.
Current PMP platforms use traditional soil-based or hydroponic plant growth, both of which have complex technical challenges. Soil-based systems, for example, are largely single-level systems that require large amounts of controlled space, are dependent on specialized substrates, have inefficient materials flow, and are not as efficient in automating as vertical farming approaches. Traditional hydroponic systems require multiple movements of high-volume, heavy platforms of plants to multiple environmental zones, says Holtz.
Newer, highly automated aeroponic plant growth systems can lower the cost of plant-made therapeutic proteins even further with single growth room systems and advanced robotics.
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