Why choose Plant Molecular Farming?

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.

How can Plant Molacular Farming (PMF) overcome this limits?

↑ Safety

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[1].

↑ Stability

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[2]. Seed compartmentalization also allows the production of toxic proteins[3].

↑ Sustainability

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.

↑ Scalability

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.

↓ Spending

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%[4] up to over 50%[5], depending on several factors such as yield, scale and so forth.


[1] Buyel JF. Plant Molecular Farming - Integration and Exploitation of Side Streams to Achieve Sustainable Biomanufacturing. Front Plant Sci. 2019;9:1893. Published 2019 Jan 18. 
[2] Boothe J, et al. Seed-based expression systems for plant molecular farming. Plant Biotechnol J. 2010;8:588–606.
[3] Gengenbach, B. B., Keil, L. L., Opdensteinen, P., Müschen, C. R., and Buyel, J. F.. Comparison of microbial and transient expression (tobacco plants and plant cell packs) for the production and purification of the anti-cancer mistletoe lectin viscumin. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2019 Sep;116(9):2236-2249.
[4] Kaufman, J. & Kalaitzandonakes, N. (2011) The economic potential of plant-made pharmaceuticals in the manufacture of biologic pharmaceuticals. J Commer Biotechnol  17: 173. 
[5] Nandi S, Kwong AT, Holtz BR, Erwin RL, Marcel S, McDonald KA (2016) Techno-economic analysis of a transient plant-based platform for monoclonal antibody production. mAbs 8:1456–1466 .