The aim of the SAGE project is to establish an improved plant production platform for pharmaceutical glycoproteins. Plant systems are inexpensive, scalable and safe, providing unique advantages for the production of pharmaceutical proteins, including therapeutic antibodies that are normally too expensive to produce through conventional means. This applies particularly to antibodies that are required in large amounts for use as diagnostics or in the treatment of certain types of cancer. However, the glycan structures added by plants are different to those found in humans, and the glycoform of an antibody is strongly influenced by the plant species, tissue, cell type and age. Using different plant-based expression systems and mammalian cells as a control, we intend to produce a therapeutic antibody that recognizes the well-characterized carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). The antibody will thus be produced as a panel of different glycoforms, which we will test these systematically for stability, efficacy (e.g. in Fc-receptor binding assays, tumour cell binding assays and tumour grafting) and pharmacokinetic properties such as serum half life and ADCC (antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity). These results will be exploited to develop safer and more active glycoform varieties for therapeutic applications. The SAGE project will be carried out by an international consortium of laboratories including one SME, four research organizations and two companies (Bayer BioScience, which is not requesting EU funding, and Icon Genetics). These participants are recognized as leaders in plant-based production technology and immunology, so approximately equal weighting will be given to the plant genetics and antibody characterization work within the project. The consortium is strengthened by the participation of Bayer BioScience, part of Bayer AG, a large company with a pharmaceutical division that has the ability to bring protein therapeutics to the market.
Field of science
- /agricultural sciences/agricultural biotechnology/agricultural genetics
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
Call for proposal
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