Stefan Schillberg – Fraunhofer, DE & Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey – VTT, FI


The goal of this latest EPSO working group is to promote research, development and innovation in the field of molecular farming – particularly translational research to increase the impact of molecular farming and plant-derived pharmaceutical proteins in the clinic by encouraging industry participation and the funding of infrastructure development and clinical development beyond phase I trials.

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Molecular farming is the use of plants or plant cells to produce high-value products from proteins and metabolites, particularly for pharmaceutical and medical/diagnostic, agricultural and industrial uses.


Traditional production systems based on microbes are limited in scope because large complex glycoproteins cannot be synthesized efficiently – while systems based on mammalian cells (or transgenic animals) are expensive, limited in scale and come with associated risks such as the potential to harbor viruses.


In contrast, plants provide an inexpensive and convenient system for the large-scale production of valuable recombinant proteins without compromising product quality or safety. Plant seeds and fruits also provide naturally sterile packaging for valuable proteins and guarantee an extended storage life. Plants do not support the replication of mammalian viruses and no plant pathogens are known to infect humans.

The benefits of molecular farming have been demonstrated over the last 15 years through the sustained efforts of a growing number of European research groups, many of which have participated in the COST action “Molecular farming: plants as a production platform for high value proteins” as well as the EU projects Pharma-Planta, CoMoFarm and SmartCell.


EPSO news developed by this WG:

Relevant news from other sources:


Ritala Anneli, VTT, FI


Heiko Rischer, VTT, FI

Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey, VTT, FI

Stefan Schillberg, Fraunhofer, DE

Eva Stöger, BOKU, AT