MOLECULAR FARMING

Chairs:

Stefan Schillberg – Fraunhofer, DE, Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey – VTT, FI, Eva Stoeger, BOKU, AT

Activities:

The goal of this 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 recombinant proteins and chemicals in economic applications by encouraging industry participation for plant-based manufacturing..

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

Plants provide an inexpensive, scalable and convenient system for the rapid and sustainable production of valuable recombinant proteins and small molecules with a high profile of product quality and safety. Plants offer animal-free production and do not support the replication of mammalian viruses, and no plant pathogens are known to infect humans. Plants are versatile production hosts and comprise many alternative platforms, including transgenic plants, transient expression, and plant cell suspension cultures, which enable product-specific solutions. Plant seeds and fruits for example, provide naturally sterile packaging for valuable proteins and promote an extended storage life. Furthermore, the use of any edible tissue for recombinant protein expression provides the option for oral delivery or topical application with minimal processing, further reducing the production costs, which have been subject of multiple techno-economic assessments.

In the face of recently spreading epidemic and pandemic diseases, molecular farming has received substantial attention for its potential to contribute to satisfying the demand for vaccines, research reagents and therapeutics. While such situations threaten to overwhelm traditional production platforms, the extra production capacity offered by plants would be a welcome addition.

The benefits of Molecular Farming have been demonstrated over the last 25 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 InnCoCells, Pharma-PlantaCoMoFarm, SmartCell, Pharma-Planta, Pharma-Factory and Newcotiana.

Meetings:

EPSO news developed by this WG:

Relevant news from other sources:

Members:

Ritala Anneli, VTT, FI

Elena Caro, CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC)

Heiko Rischer, VTT, FI

Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey, VTT, FI

Stefan Schillberg, Fraunhofer, DE

Eva Stöger, BOKU, AT