Big Drug Pharmaceutical Companies Remain Conservative regarding “Plantibodies“ Drug Production

According to U. S authorities, a Diego's Mapp Pharmaceutical, produced the Ebola drug serum helping two Americans who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus. The experimental serum was manufactured using plants. But while the biotech product, called ZMapp, is indeed still experimental, it's not yet approved for human use.

Companies like Germany's Icon Genetics, Canada's PlantForm Corp, and Delaware-based IBio Inc. are also working to produce antibodies, protein drugs and vaccines in fast-growing plants.

The lower cost involved in plant based production will eventually capture the attention of larger drugmakers. These companies hope that big pharmaceutical makes will accept the technique but only after getting substantial evidence that the process can pass collectively with regulators. The industry experts are yet to approve a biotech drug produced completely from plants.

To block the path of foreign, potentially damaging invaders, metal vats and Green house Antibodies are used by body's immune system. Around 30 antibody-based drugs on the market in the United States are produced from mammalian cells, often from hamsters, that are cultivated in large stainless steel vats.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency has indicated some of its concerns over plantibodies, including the need for manufacturers to demonstrate that the source plant produces a consistent product. In draft guidance from 2002, the agency has also referred the potential for the plant to express an allergenic or toxic compound.

Qiang Chen, a professor at Arizona State University who is also researching currently on the use of plant-farmed antibodies against the West Nile virus mentions that it is very expensive and risky to jump to a new drug developing business.

Michael Kamarck, a biotechnology industry consultant and former manufacturing executive at Merck & Co Inc., said, "It's typical that the Big Pharma industry is very conservative in what they establish and what they invest in. Our technology can complement standard manufacturing techniques. It may work best when speed is required or when flexibility is required to manufacture vaccines for an epidemic or for fast, reliable production".