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Latest From ProdiGene Inc.
A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, Protein Harvest, features profiles of Meristem Therapeutics; MPB Cologne GMBH; PhytaGenics Inc. and ProdiGene Inc. Plus these selected Start-Ups across Health Care: Gentris Corp.; HemoGenix LLC; Psychiatric Genomics Inc. and Zassi Medical Evolutions Inc.
ProdiGene Inc. was the first company to commercialize recombinant proteins from transgenic plants. It has used its head start to assemble a strong IP portfolio and form a number of strategic partnerships to advance its programs in proteins for biopharmaceutical and industrial applications. Using corn as its production vehicle, ProdiGene is close to hitting the market with an industrial enzyme, and will embark soon on clinical trials for edible human vaccines for e.coli and hepatitis B.
Genetic engineering is giving a new meaning to the term "manufacturing plant" as the biotechnology industry looks to potatoes, corn, tobacco, and other crops to provide cheap manufacturing sources for therapeutic The lack of capacity for the cost-effective manufacture of protein-based pharmaceuticals will soon cause a significant bottleneck at pharmaceutical companies, one that threatens to impede the progress of therapeutics at all stages of development, from the preclinical stage to commercialization. Today, companies are faced with the limited options of either queuing up for outsourced manufacturing, or investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their own production capacity well before they know that a product will succeed. A bumper crop of new companies is therefore poised to take advantage of the manufacturing capabilities of plants that have been genetically engineered to produce human proteins.
France's Meristem Therapeutics, spun out of seed producer Groupe Limagrain, is using transgenic plants to produce commercial quantities of purified protein-based pharmaceuticals. It hopes that the success of its phase II product, lipase, will help convince an as-yet skeptical pharmaceutical industry of the value--both in terms of safety, cost and efficiency--of plant-derived therapeutics.
- Synthesis Technologies, Production Processes