Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 36, Issue 12, pp 2367–2379 | Cite as

Recombinant plant-derived pharmaceutical proteins: current technical and economic bottlenecks

  • Maite Sabalza
  • Paul Christou
  • Teresa Capell


Molecular pharming is a cost-effective platform for the production of recombinant proteins in plants. Although the biopharmaceutical industry still relies on a small number of standardized fermentation-based technologies for the production of recombinant proteins there is now a greater awareness of the advantages of molecular pharming particularly in niche markets. Here we discuss some of the technical, economic and regulatory barriers that constrain the clinical development and commercialization of plant-derived pharmaceutical proteins. We also discuss strategies to increase productivity and product quality/homogeneity. The advantages of whole plants should be welcomed by the industry because this will help to reduce the cost of goods and therefore expand the biopharmaceutical market into untapped sectors.


Molecular pharming Plant-made pharmaceuticals Plant production systems Proteins from recombinant plants Recombinant pharmaceutical proteins 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament de Producció Vegetal I Ciència Forestal (PVCF)Universitat de Lleida-Agrotecnio CenterLleidaSpain
  2. 2.Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA)BarcelonaSpain

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