For expression systems other than microbial and mammalian cell cultures, plants as factories for human pharmaceuticals (or other molecules) is an alternative with several advantages – both in terms of industrial scale-up and protein functionality due to post-translational modification.
Optima Planta’s Growth Module™ is a semi-closed growth system (climate chamber) for plants. The environment can be configured, using its automatic control system, and high resolution time series data (including weight, temperature, humidity, pH and more) is collected automatically. The Growth Module’s control system, closed system properties and data collection enables optimization of plants e.g. biomass and/or a higher concentration of chemical or transgenic products.
The Growth Module can cultivate transgenic plants that produces biological products, such as complex human proteins or vaccines, that are otherwise difficult to produce in other expression systems. It solves many challenges that current plants-as-molecular-factories have, such as (1) biological contamination; genetic pollution e.g. pollen or product contamination due to pesticides, (2) a controlled, and optimized, cultivation process which enables a more accurate and cost effective downstream process and (3) a possible scale up from laboratory production to large industrial production that is linear in its cost structure – or even better.
The cultivation process use no soil, sunlight or pesticides; vertically, locally and year round – regardless of weather or season. Any growth medium, agar-agar or otherwise can be used.
Finally, products such as edible vaccines (or other pharmaceuticals) are possible, using plants as an expression system. The process for a candidate drug is: finding a candidate gene, constructing a plant expression vector, cultivating the plants and finally to clinical trials without purifying, storing, transporting or development and manufacture of a pharmaceutical capsules.