NEXGEN Biotechnologies Inc. has acquired and developed unique technologies in the fields of artificial synthetic gene development and isolation of promoters for controlled gene expression through its intensive plant genome research. The Company also has its own proprietary host plant platforms to produce useful materials through transgenic technology. We take advantage of the technologies at our disposal to make plants that produce new biological materials. With this 2nd Generation of Plant Biotechnology, NEXGEN is in hot pursuit of new functional materials necessary for agriculture, marine industries, livestock industries, for environmental products, food, cosmetics, medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Plants can produce various kinds of proteins that can then be made in large quantities. This means that mass production of high value-added useful proteins can be done at very low cost. Generally production costs can be reduced to just 1/30 the cost of using animal cell culture and 1/3 of the cost of using a microorganism culture system.
The global market of medical proteins is valued at $36,000 billion . For example the market value for insulin is $1,300 billion and it is expected to increase in case of possible mass production. The annual domestic sales of various industrial enzymes used in food, detergents and textiles is estimated to be over $20 billion and different kinds of medical supplies and vaccines is valued at $100 billion .
NEXGEN intends to use plants as bio-factories to produce common authentic therapeutic proteins and reduce their costs as a result of the mass-production capabilities of plants. Furthermore, the Company is also actively developing its own novel products for the cosmetics industry, and has plans to produce large quantities of different enzymes in a non-purified form that can be used in many different industries.
Molecular Farming ?
Molecular Farming refers to the new area of science which combines the use of biotechnology and plants in order to produce valuable products
Plants have the natural ability to make human and animal proteins. This means that mass production is greatly simplified by just increasing the acreage of the plants under cultivation. Existing farming equipment can be used in the processing of the plants and thus reduce the costs involved in making the product. Often costs can be reduced as much as 1/30 of that necessary when using animal cell culture and at least by 1/3 when compared to microbial culture systems. Products produced in plants can be stored for long periods without refrigeration if they are expressed in seeds or leaves which can be stored dried.
How is it done?
Through careful and skilled manipulation of genes, molecular farming techniques allows for the controlled expression of a specific gene which, when expressed in a transgenic plant, results in the production of a specific target protein. The technologies are so precise that the target protein can be expressed in a single plant tissue or during a specific developmental phase of the plants growth cycle. Thus the production of any target protein can be carefully controlled to ensure the safe and secure production of valuable products.
What are the applications?
Molecular farming technologies offer the unique advantage that almost any protein can be produced economically and safely under very controlled conditions. Therefore, medical proteins, industrial enzymes, marine industry products as well as cosmetic and functional food items can be produced through molecular farming and thus ensure the safe and secure production of these products.
Molecular Farming 1 - Medical proteins
The first approach to Molecular Farming is the mass production of high value-added medical proteins (as examples, insulin, interferon, growth hormones, antibodies, blood proteins) at low cost. We introduce the gene for a specific target protein into a plant to express it and then extract the useful material.
Therapeutic proteins can be very expensive to produce since they are commonly made using animal cell culture or they are purified from specific animal tissues or in some specific cases from blood in order to isolate a protein that functions correctly. In most cases microbial fermentation systems can not make mammalian proteins that function correctly. It can, however, still be expensive to highly purify proteins from plants and thus only specific very-high value medical proteins are being considered for plant molecular farming. This technology minimizes the cost of production since very large quantities of proteins can be isolated at one time and the high costs of animal cell culture are eliminated.
Molecular Farming 2 - Industrial enzymes
The second approach to Molecular Farming is particularly attractive for protein production when a high degree of purification is not necessary. For example, in the case of an enzyme used in the animal feed industry, purification is not required. Plant material is simply dried and ground to a powder which is then added directly to the feed. This approach to molecular farming has tremendous potential for the production of high-value proteins for agricultural, marine and industrial industries when a high degree of purity is not required.
Molecular Farming 3 - Edible Vaccine
Edible vaccines can be used instead of most available vaccines. Edible vaccines are particularity attractive in providing mucosal immunity. Mucosal immunity is the term for the production of antibodies in those regions of the body that are exposed to the environment such as the mouth, stomach and intestines. Edible vaccines can be developed for such diseases as hepatitis, cholera, diarrhea, various cancers and auto-immune diseases.
In the near future, vaccinations will be as simple and painless as eating a piece of food!