July 15, 2024

Plant-Based Biologics Can Be Used For Treating Diseases Such As Fabry Disease, Gaucher Disease, And More

Plant-Based Biologics
Plant-Based Biologics


Innovative developments in biotechnology have led to the use of plants as a material for producing therapeutic proteins. It offers many advantages that are not possible with mammalian expression systems.

Currently, plant-based biologicals are used to treat Gaucher disease and Fabry disease. These drugs are produced using genetically engineered plants such as tobacco, carrot, and Nicotiana benthamiana.

Biotechnology is the science and engineering of living organisms and their components. Its earliest application dates back to the 19th century when Gregor Mendel decoded the basics of inheritance by showing that invisible internal units account for observable traits in plants and animals — later referred to as genes.

Traditional production systems based on mammalian cells have struggled to meet the rising demand for human biologics due to high costs and limited scalability. These newer platforms make local vaccine and drug production a feasible goal for many countries with limited pharmaceutical industries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for novel vaccines and treatments to combat infectious diseases. While many of these products require human cell culture production, which is costly and requires skilled workers, plant-based expression systems offer an alternative.

According to Coherent Market Insights, The Plant-Based Biologics Market is estimated to be valued at US$ 19.4 million in 2020 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 3.4% during the forecast period (2020-2027).

Researchers use a variety of plant species as host plants for biologics production. One example is the bacterium Nicotiana benthamiana, which is able to perform post-translational changes similar to mammalian cells. This makes it an excellent candidate for production of therapeutic proteins.

Several companies, including Kentucky Bioprocessing, Medicago, and Ventria Bioscience, have developed plant-based systems to produce vaccines and other medicines. Their ability to quickly pivot production pipelines could prove useful during a future pandemic. Moreover, they are much less expensive than mammalian cell-based systems.

Moreover, current protein isolation and purification techniques need to be optimized for more straightforward enrichment and superior functionality. Carbohydrates from botanical sources can also be used to obtain desirable textural and sensory attributes in food via phase separation and interactive mechanisms. They can also be used to increase protein stability or improve emulsifying and foaming capabilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for new vaccines and therapeutic drugs. This demand cannot be met with current mammalian cell-based production systems, which have limited capacity and high upfront investment costs.

Plant molecular farming offers the potential to produce these products at a much faster rate and lower cost than traditional mammalian and bacterial systems. It also eliminates contamination risks that are a problem with other biopharmaceutical production systems.

Currently, Plant-Based Biologics are produced in a variety of plant systems including whole plants (tobacco and N. benthamiana), seeds (tobacco, carrot, and Arabidopsis), fruits (tomato), and tubers (potato), using both stable and transient expression. The plant-based biopharmaceuticals can be used to treat diseases such as Fabry disease, Gaucher disease, and more. The most popular plants for the production of these proteins include tobacco and duckweed.

Plant-based expression systems have advanced to a commercial viability stage over the past 30 years with the capability to generate complex mammalian-compatible, glycosylated molecules in a cost-effective system. These platforms can be used to rapidly manufacture vaccines against current or upcoming pandemic diseases, enabling a rapid response to potential outbreaks.

Most liquid transportation biofuels are made from first-generation feedstocks, which include sugars and starches that are derived from foodstuffs for people or livestock.