Plant Host Systems: A Fresh Development in Protein Expression


Plant expression platforms offer features beyond the traditional advantages, and eukaryotic protein modification. The method has a vast number of advantages like, increased safety, low manufacturing cost, flexibility and speed, host engineering, and oral delivery of drugs.

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Protein-based biologics include the major and fastest growing class of pharmaceutical products. At present, the majority of human biologics are produced in mammalian and microbial cell cultures. Biologics produced in cell cultures necessitate capital-intensive facilities, fermenters, affluent downstream processing, cold storage and transportation, and sterile delivery approaches.
 
These limitations encourage the development of alternative production systems. Currently, a large number of plant-based proteins are being assessed in clinical phases of development, including vaccine candidates against COVID 19 and multiple rare therapeutic disorders.
 
Plant expression platforms offer features beyond the traditional advantages, and eukaryotic protein modification. The method has a vast number of advantages like, increased safety, low manufacturing cost, flexibility and speed, host engineering, and oral delivery of drugs.
 
Novel transient expression vectors have been established that allow the manufacture of vaccines and therapeutics at extraordinary speed to control potential pandemics or bioterrorism attacks.
Considering the growing clinical pipeline, and recent drug approvals, developers are pursuing ground-breaking and effective therapeutic interferences. Plant-based technologies, based on the concept that plant cells can operate as a reactor for freshly initiated biosynthesis, has enabled the development of life-saving therapies, such as Z-Mapp and ELELYSO. Z-Mapp was a drug which was used for Ebola patients, when nothing else was working, Stunningly Z-mapp worked and it helped in saving a lot of lives.
 

What is the current market trend?

 During our research we came across 35+ plant-based expression systems providers that are currently engaged in providing their proprietary technology platforms to drug developers for the development of novel biologics.
 
In addition, close to 25% of the developers are providing their technologies to companies developing plant-based vaccines. Also, most of the technology providers are primarily based in North America.
Plants have emerged to be one of the key components of the current list of bio-factories and are expected to witness rapid developments in the field of plant-derived biopharmaceuticals.
 
The adaptability of plant-based technology, as explained above, along with the speed and ease with which it may be scaled up, creates a platform that is well positioned to respond to a varied range of therapeutic disorders.
 
Furthermore, in the recent past, several plant-based expression system providers have been established; this is anticipated to further progress plant-based biopharmaceuticals, from clinical development to the market.

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