KBP announces Proof-of-Concept Program to Accelerate Delivery of Plant Made Vaccine Grade Recombinant Protein
Owensboro, KY- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced that Kentucky Bioprocessing (KBP), LLC, is being awarded an agreement for developing a proof-of-concept platform capable of delivering vaccine grade recombinant protein, an essential component of future vaccines. The platform is a plant based system that uses non-genetically modified tobacco plants as a host for the expression of vaccine grade recombinant protein. The goal of the project is to demonstrate that plant based systems are scalable for rapid delivery of purified recombinant protein that meet all FDA requirements for human use.
The 2009/2010 H1N1 pandemic provided a clear illustration of the limitations of current egg based vaccine production systems to rapidly respond to pandemic threats. KBP’s production system is based on the introduction of a selected gene into a tobacco plant. The plants reproduce the targeted protein, then are harvested and processed to yield highly purified protein. This system would represent a significant alternative in the nation’s ability to protect itself from potential biological threats.
This proof-of-concept program will be focused on influenza, but the system would be adaptable to producing recombinant proteins against other types of pathogens. KBP’s collaborative effort with the DARPA will combine its experience and existing downstream processing capability with a new system for growing large volumes of plants (biomass) to develop and deliver the vaccine grade recombinant protein. Work on the program is expected to begin on April 1.