Monday, July 30, 2007

Biodesign Institute, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, and Kentucky Bioprocessing collaborate on pharma products

[Source: The Biodesign Institute] -- The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Mapp Biopharmaceutical and Kentucky Bioprocessing (KBP) will collaborate on developing, refining and producing low-cost pharmaceutical products for large cost sensitive markets in global health. The initial product targets include monoclonal antibodies for use in microbicides and mucosal vaccines to prevent transmission of certain infections. The three organizations also expect to collaborate on other products.

Charles Arntzen, PhD, of ASU’s Biodesign Institute is leading the team whose work is supported through funding from the National Institutes of Health, a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the initial collaboration is to move the vaccines and monoclonal antibodies into production and clinical trials.

The tobacco (Nicotiana Benthanmiana) plant based production system selected for use by the team offers the promise of a versatile, rapidly scalable platform for production of large volumes of product. In addition to these features, plant based manufacturing systems offer the ability to develop products at much lower cost than traditional biotechnology production methods. By producing the host tobacco plants in enclosed growth facilities the researchers expect to optimize the amount of product generated by each plant while minimizing any concerns over negative environmental impacts.

"While advances in biotechnology have provided the world with some incredible preventative, therapeutic and diagnostic products, these products are often very expensive, making them unavailable to many people, especially in the developing world," said Arntzen. "We believe that our work has the potential to pave the way for products that offer the same level of efficacy while meeting unmet needs of large, cost sensitive markets in global health," he said.

In acknowledging its role in the collaboration, KBP Chairman Hugh Haydon said, "We are delighted to be part of this distinguished team conducting such important work. The leadership of Dr.Arntzen and ASU along with the expertise of Mapp are perfect compliments to the experience and capabilities of KBP. We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the practical feasibility of developing a commercially scalable production system for these plant derived products."

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