An assessment of emerging molecular farming activities based on patent analysis (2002∼2006)



The products of Plant Molecular Farming are recombinant proteins or their metabolic products. In this study, patent data was employed to assess industrial trend in the research and innovation process of Plant Molecular Farming within national and international context. The US Patent and Trade Organization (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) issued a total of 585 patents covering Plant Molecular Farming from 2002 through 2006. By nationality, US inventors predominated as recipients of PMF patents, followed by Germany, Denmark, and Japan. The PMF patents were catagorized in five major areas of research namely pharmaceutical and nutraceuticals with 170 patents (31%) and plant expression tools and methods for alternative production systems with 169 patents (29%) were the dominating patent applications, followed by 102 patent claims associated with antibodies (17%), 71 patents of industrial molecules (12%), 48 patents of vaccines (8%), and finally 18 patents related to post-translational protein glycosylation (3%). The greatest proportion of patentees was of US origin (52%), and PMF associated patenting activities at the USPTO and EPO were dominated with 67% by private organizations.


plant molecular farming recombinant patent analysis USPTO EPO 


  1. 1.
    Drossard, J. (2004) Downstream processing of plantderived recombinant therapeutic proteins. pp. 217–230. In: R. Fischer and S. Schillberg (eds.). Molecular Farming. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Foltz, J., B. Barham, and K. Kim (2000) Universities and agricultural biotechnology patents production. Agribusiness 16: 82–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Joly, P. B. and M. A. de Looze (1996) An analysis of innovation strategies and industrial differentiation through patent applications: the case of plant biotechnology. Res. Policy 25: 1027–1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Science-technology Linkages in an Emerging Research Platform: The Case of Conbinatorial Chemistry and Biology. Electronic Working Paper No. 37.
  5. 5.
    McMillan, G. S., F. Narin, and D. L. Deeds (2000) An analysis of the critical role of public science in innovation: the case of biotechnology. Res. Policy 29: 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Karki, M. M. (1997) Patent citation analysis: A policy analysis tool. World Pat. Inf. 19: 269–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Oppenheim, C. (2000) Do patent citations count? pp. 405–432. In: B. Cronin and H. B. Atkins (eds.). The Web of Knowledge. Information Today, Medford, NJ, USA.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Daim, T. U., G. Rueda, H. Martin, and P. Gerdsri (2006) Forecasting emerging technologies: Use of bibliometrics and patent analysis. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change 73: 981–1012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liu, S. J. and J. Shyu (1997) Strategic planning for technology development with patent analysis. Int. J. Technol. Manage. 13: 661–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Williamson, A. R. (2001) Gene patents: socially acceptable monopolies or an unnecessary hindrance to research? Trends Genet. 17: 670–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chau, M., Z. Huang, J. Qin, Y. Zhou, and H. Chen (2006) Building a scientific knowledge web portal: The NanoPort experience. Decis. Support Syst. 42: 1216–1238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Caulfield, T. and B. von Tigerstrom (2006) Gene patents, health care policy and licensing schemes. Trends Biotechnol. 24: 251–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    OECD (2006) Guidelines for the Licensing of Genetic Inventions (
  14. 14.
    OECD Compendium patent statistics (2003) http://
  15. 15.
    Beyond borders: A Global Perspective. The Ernst & Young Global Health Sciences. Biotechnology Report.
  16. 16.
    Primer: Genome and Generic Research, Patent Protection and 21st Century Medicine. BIO Innovation Report.
  17. 17.
    Vain, P. (2006) Global trends in plant transgenic science and technology (1973–2003). Trends Biotechnol. 24: 206–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lane, D. P. (2002) Mind the gap. Trends Cell Biol. 12: 541–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ramani, S. V. and M. A. de Looze (2002) Country-specific characteristics of patent applications in France, Germany and the UK in the biotechnology sectors. Technol. Anal. Strateg. Manage. 14: 457–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Baudry, M. and B. Dumont (2006) Comparing firms’ triadic patent applications across countries: Is there a gap in terms of R&D effort or a gap in terms of performances? Res. Policy 35: 324–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lawrence, S. (2006) Biotech patenting upturn. Nat. Biotechnol. 24: 1190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
    Lawrence, S. (2004) Patent drop reveals pressures on industry. Nat. Biotechnol. 22: 930–931.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Arcand, F. and P. Arnison (2005) Development of Novel Protein-Production Systems and Economic Opportunities & Regulatory Challenges for Canada.
  25. 25.
    Ramani, S. V. (2002) Who is interested in biotech? R&D strategies, knowledge base and market sales of Indian biopharmaceutical firms. Res. Policy 31: 381–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
  27. 27.
    Aggarwal, S., V. Gupta, and S. Bagchi-Sen (2006) Insights into US public biotech sector using patenting trends. Nat. Biotechnol. 24: 643–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Grandjean, N., B. Charpiot, C. A. Pena, and M. C. Peitsch (2005) Competitive intelligence and patent analysis in drug discovery Mining the competitive knowledge bases and patents. Drug Discov. Today: Technologies 2: 211–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Torphy, T. J. (2002) Monoclonal antibodies: boundless potential, daunting challenges. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 13: 589–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Farid, S. S. (2007) Process economics of industrial monoclonal antibody manufacture. J. Chromatogr. B 848: 8–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ma, J. K. C., R. Chikwamba, P. Sparrow, R. Fischer, R. Mahoney, and R. M. Twyman (2005) Plant-derived pharmaceutical — the road forward. Trends Plant Sci. 10: 580–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Blueprinting for the Development of Plant Derived Vaccines for the Poor in Developing Countries.
  33. 33.
    Yusibov, V., D. C. Hooper, S. V. Spitsin, N. Fleysh, R. B. Kean, T. Mikheeva, D. Deka, A. Karasev, S. Cox, J. Randall, and H. Koprowski (2002) Expression in plants and immunogenecity of plant virus-based experimental rabies vaccine. Vaccine 20: 3155–3164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ma, J. K., P. M. Drake, and P. Christou (2003) The production of recombinant pharmaceutical proteins in plants. Nat. Rev. Genet. 4: 794–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Tacket, C. O. (2005) Plant-derived vaccines against diarrheal diseases. Vaccine 23: 1866–1869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
  37. 37.
    Commandeur, U., R. M. Twyman, and R. Fischer (2003) The biosafety of molecular farming in plants. AgBiotech Net 5: 1–9.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Horn, M. E., S. L. Woodard, and J. A. Howard (2004) Plant molecular farming: Systems and products. Plant Cell Rep. 22: 711–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
  40. 40.
    Hood, E. E. and J. A. Howard (2002) Plants as Factories for Protein Production. Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Woodard, S. L., J. M. Mayor, M. R. Bailey, D. K. Barker, R. T. Love, J. R. Lane, D. E. Delaney, J. M. McComas-Wagner, H. D. Mallubhotla, E. E. Hood, L. J. Gangott, S. E. Tichy, and J. A. Howard (2003) Maize-derived bovine trypsin: Characterization of the first large-scale, commercial protein from transgenic plants. Biotechnol. Appl. Biochem. 38: 123–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Chargelegue, N. D., P. M. W. Drake, P. Obregon, and J. K. Ma (2005) Production of secretory IgA in transgenic plants. pp. 159–169. In: R. Fischer and S. Schillberg (eds.). Molecular Farming: Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals and Technical Proteins. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg GmbH 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Commission, Joint Research Center (JRC)Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS)SevilleSpain

Personalised recommendations