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Collaborative Opportunity for Research on Production of Pharmaceutical and Industrial Proteins in Plants


In the area of plant-based pharmaceutical and industrial protein production Plant Research International offers an exceptionally attractive solution for protein expression under the trademark ImpactVector TM . The ImpactVector TM expression system combines versatility and scalability of plant production systems with high yield. We have developed a first generation platform for fast (2-3 months), ultra high yield (up to 3 g per kilogram fresh leaf weight) production of pharmaceutical and industrial proteins based on a novel Agrobacterium-based plant expression vector in a non-food host. On top of this, Plant Research International has technology to improve the quality of these proteins, in particular with respect to N-linked modifications to the protein backbone which are often crucial for pharmaceutical applications.

Vision / strategy

The achievement of ultra high expression in plants by Plant Research International is finding widespread recognition and use in the research and industrial community. Recently, we could improve our protein yield threefold from 1 to 3 gram per kilogram leaves. We have several lines of research to continue this improvement in yield, while at the same time developing technology geared towards the specific needs of the industry (e.g. human glycosylation) and society (containment).

Business opportunities

ImpactVector TM technology is available both for use in your own lab and as an expression service at Plant Research International. The service will allow you to take full benefit of our experience with protein expression and glycosylation in plants and may lead to specific IP if an innovative strategy is pursued.

The current technology offers the following business opportunities:

  • Up to 3 gram of pharmaceutical or industrial protein per kg leaves
  • Low cost production (greenhouse available at   Plant Research International at a few euro per plant)
  • Endlessly scalable (200 gram protein/m 2 from 4 harvests per year)
  • Fast turnover (6 weeks to the greenhouse)
  • Fast and easy technology access (immediately available)
  • Optional human glycosylation technology
  • Sharing PRI's worldwide network of business and research contacts in this area.

PRI strategy in developing this field:

  • PRI is seeking long-term collaborations with commercial partners to jointly co-develop market-ready products for exploitation and commercialization.
  • IP Strategy: where relevant from commercial point of view, patent protection is sought. PRI aims at developing joint IP in its collaborative research programmes (negotiable). Where relevant, industrial partners will get access to existing IP belonging to PRI in the field of interest.

Track record

Plant Research International has a strong track record on improving the expression of proteins in both yeast and plants. The recent results with ultrahigh expression levels of Green Fluorescent Protein at 24% of total soluble protein (3g/kg leaves) will be published in 2005.

Some key references (additional references are available upon request)

  • Bakker, H., Routier, F., Oelmann, S., Jordi, W.J.R.M., Lommen, A., Gerardy-Schahn, R., Bosch, D. Molecular cloning of two Arabidopsis thaliana UDP-galactose transporters by complementation of a deficient Chinese Hamster Ovary cell line. (2005) Glycobiology 15, 193-201
  • Outchkourov NS, Peters J, de Jong J, Rademakers W, Jongsma MA. (2003) The promoter-terminator of chrysanthemum rbcS1 directs very high expression levels in plants. Planta 216: 1003-1012  
  • Outchkourov NS, Rogelj B, Jongsma MA (2003) Expression of sea anemone equistatin in potato: effects of plant proteases on heterologous protein production. Plant Physiology 133: 379-390
  • Galesa K, Pain R, Jongsma MA, Turk V and Lenarcic B (2003) Structural characterization of thyroglobulin type-1 domains of equistatin FEBS Letters 539:120-124
  • Annadana S., Beekwilder M.J., Kuijpers G., Visser P.B., Outchkourov N., Pereira A., Udayakumar M., De Jong J. and Jongsma M.A. (2002) Cloning of the chrysanthemum UEP1 promoter and comparative expression in leaves and ray and disc florets of Dendranthema grandiflora Transgenic Research 11: 437-445
  • Outchkourov NS, Stiekema WJ, Jongsma MA. (2002) Optimization of the expression of equistatin in Pichia pastoris . Protein Expr Purif. 24:18-24
  • Bakker, H., Bardor, M., Molthoff, J.W., Gomord, V., Elbers, I., Stevens, L.H., Jordi, W.J.R.M., Lommen, A., Faye, L., Lerouge, P. and Bosch, D. Galactose-extended glycans of antibodies produced by transgenic plants. (2001). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci . USA. 98, 2899–2904
  • Rogelj, B., Strukelj, B., Bosch, D., Jongsma, M.A. (2000) Expression, purification and characterisation of equistatin in Pichia pastoris. Protein Expression and Purification 19: 329-334

Patent applications

  • WO0131045 : Mammalian-type glycosylation in plants
  • WO03078614 : GNTIII (UDP-N-acethylglucosamine:beta-D mannoside beta(1,4)-N-acethylglucosaminyltransferase III) expression in plants
  • WO03078637 : Optimizing glycan processing in plants
  • WO0161023 : Reduction of in planta degradation of recombinant plant products

For further information please contact either:
Euro Japan Marketing Limited
Phone: +81 3 3664 5062 • Email: •
Plant Research International B.V.
Phone: +31 317 47 7377 • E-mail:

For additional details please go to the PRI homepage or contact us.

Plant Research International is currently offering specific opportunities relating to: