Molecular Farming in Plants: The Long Road to the Market

  • Rainer Fischer
  • Johannes F. Buyel
  • Stefan Schillberg
  • Richard M. Twyman
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 68)


Recombinant proteins can be produced on a commercial scale using a diverse array of host systems based on microbes, animals, and plants. Commercially established processes have resolved to a small number of standard platforms, including the bacterium Escherichia coli, the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia pastoris, and certain well-characterized insect and mammalian cell lines. In contrast, many different plant-based systems have been developed and only in the last few years have standardized platforms begun to emerge. The diversity of plant-based platforms has been advantageous to molecular farming by helping to overcome technical issues, but the failure to focus on specific platforms has made the transition from experimental development to a viable commercial process a long and difficult one. As well as the technical and economic principles required to develop a viable manufacturing processes, plants have also been held back by the lack of a harmonized regulatory system for plant-derived pharmaceutical products, such that much of the early commercial development of molecular farming focused on non-pharmaceutical proteins. Despite these hurdles, pharmaceutical molecular farming is now firmly established in the market, and we are witnessing the dawn of a new age in which plants are regarded as competitive platforms for the commercial production of diverse recombinant pharmaceutical protein products.


Phytic Acid Good Manufacturing Practice Transient Expression System Molecular Farming Upstream Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We acknowledge funding from the EU projects Pharma-Planta (LSHB-CT-2003-503565) and CoMoFarm (227420), the COST Action Molecular Farming (FA0804), and the ERC advanced grant Future-Pharma (269110).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Fischer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Johannes F. Buyel
    • 2
  • Stefan Schillberg
    • 1
  • Richard M. Twyman
    • 3
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME)AachenGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Molecular BiotechnologyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  3. 3.TRM LtdYorkUK

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