Biopharmaceuticals, or pharmaceutical proteins, are usually synthesized in mammal cells, yeasts or bacteria. The cell batches are cultivated in bioreactors, which require large investment and running costs, have poor scalability, bear a real risk of batch loss by contamination with human pathogens and (in the case of bacteria) offer low product quality.
PMF can lower the risks of batch loss and cross contamination.
No human pathogen can infect plant cells and vice versa, therefore there is no risk of batch contamination. Also, plants are basically single-use disposable bioreactors, dramatically reducing the risk of product cross contamination.
PMF can long-term store active, complex, toxic proteins with no quality loss.
Even complex biopharmaceuticals can be stored in their stable form into the rice seeds for years, offering a safe and cheap response to sudden increases in demand. Seed compartmentalization also allows the production of toxic proteins.
PMF is an environmentally sustainable, green technology.
Using plants over traditional fermenters is an ecologic choice. No plastic-based bioreactors or biohazardous waste. Naturally occurring carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation strategy. All materials remaining after product extraction are rapidly biodegraded under typical environmental conditions. Process integration for the use of all byproducts is possible.
PMF offers a modular and scalable technology.
The plant-based system is very well suited to an industrial scale-up. Being based on single plants, its nature is intrinsically modular. The amount of protein obtained is directly proportional to the biomass produced (rice seeds), which can be multiplied by increasing the area dedicated to rice cultivation.
PMF can reduce the upstream costs for biopharmaceuticals.
Higher plants such as rice can be cultivated in growth chambers or greenhouses, not requiring any high-tech investment and maintenance and lowering upfront, running and storage cost. Several estimates have been made of the cost reduction associated with the adoption of PMF technologies as opposed to the mainstream CHO-based platform. The range of anticipated reduction in manufacturing costs, for instance, goes from a conservative 30% up to over 50%, depending on several factors such as yield, scale and so forth.
5S: Sustainable bio-industry
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