Rapid Expression in Plant Cell Culture System May Facilitate Large-Volume Scalability
Research Triangle Park, NC – February 17, 2004–The Dow Chemical Company and NOBEX Corporation, a drug development company specializing in drug delivery, announced today that they will collaborate on plant-based production of NLC-001, a proprietary peptide currently in preclinical development by NOBEX as a potential appetite suppressant to treat obesity.
This project broadens the scope of Dow Plant Biopharmaceuticals beyond their current work in plant-based pharmaceutical production, which has focused primarily on antibodies. NOBEX will provide a proprietary gene sequence that will be used in combination with Dow Plant Biopharmaceuticals’ proprietary expression technology. Financial terms are not being disclosed; however, both parties are contributing resources.
Under the agreement, the initial expression of the peptide will take place in plant cell suspension to allow for fast evaluation of the ability of plant tissues to secrete the peptide. If successful, production may be moved to whole plants for rapid scale-up.
The peptide will be conjugated to NOBEX’s proprietary polymer technology for oral administration. Given the size of the proposed target market for the peptide, it is anticipated that a large volume of supply will be needed for clinical trials and eventual
“The larger volumes needed for oral delivery utilizing our innovative polymer technology led us to consider Dow’s alternative expression system,” said Radha Krishnan, Ph.D., Senior Director, Chemical Development and Manufacturing for NOBEX. “Their plant-based approach appealed to us because of the prospects for lower costs, higher expression levels, and higher volume production. In addition, initial expression in plant cell suspension enables us to evaluate progress months earlier than going directly into whole plant production.”
“More companies today are looking for alternative expression methods to traditional means. We believe our plant-based methods can provide real advantages,” stated Dow’s Carolyn Fritz, General Manager for Industrial Biotechnology. “Our plant-based solutions provide alternative expression for difficult-to-express proteins. And along with faster initial assessment, they provide a foundation for scalability into production in whole plants. Our technology avoids specific patents and royalties associated with traditional mammalian cell and yeast technologies owned by others,” continued Fritz.
NOBEX Corporation is a privately held drug product development company that specializes in medicinal chemistry applied to optimizing the delivery of therapeutic drugs. The company has advanced three products into clinical study, including the oral calcitonin Oratonin™ tablet for treating the pain of vertebral fractures, the APAZA compound, an oral tablet for inflammatory bowel disease, and insulin in an oral tablet for diabetes. NOBEX has several other products in preclinical development on its own and with partners or collaborators including Pfizer, Duke University, and the Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit www.nobexcorp.com.
About Dow Plant Biopharmaceuticals
Dow Plant Biopharmaceuticals offers biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies single-source contract development and manufacturing for production of complex therapeutic proteins using plant-based technology. Dow currently has a pipeline of client biopharmaceutical products in various stages of production, using multiple types of plant transgenic systems in an effort to overcome capacity limitations with lower capital and operating costs, offer a faster route to production and provide simpler downstream processing. www.dowplantpharma.com.
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