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Keywords:

  • Plant-made pharmaceuticals;
  • molecular farming;
  • pharming;
  • pharmaceuticals;
  • biotechnology

Summary

Technology for enabling plants to biomanufacture nonnative proteins in commercially significant quantities has been available for just over 20 years. During that time, the agricultural world has witnessed rapid commercialization and widespread adoption of transgenic crops enhanced for agronomic performance (herbicide-tolerance, insect-resistance), while plant-made pharmaceuticals (PMPs) and plant-made industrial products (PMIPs) have been limited to experimental and small-scale commercial production. This difference in the rate of commercial implementation likely reflects the very different business-development challenges associated with ‘product’ technologies compared with ‘enabling’ (‘platform’) technologies. However, considerable progress has been made in advancing and refining plant-based production of proteins, both technologically and in regard to identifying optimal business prospects. This review summarizes these developments, contrasting today’s technologies and prospective applications with those of the industry’s formative years, and suggesting how the PM(I)P industry’s evolution has generated a very positive outlook for the ‘plant-made’ paradigm.