GUELPH, Ont., Dec. 13, 2017—A research partnership between PlantForm Corporation and scientists at Ryerson University and the University of Victoria has been awarded a GlycoNet Collaborative Team Grant from the Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet).
The funding will support work led by Dr. Warren Wakarchuk at Ryerson towards advancing a plant-made butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) drug candidate for broad-spectrum protection against nerve agents such as sarin and soman.
For this project, Wakarchuk will be collaborating with UVic’s Dr. Alisdair Boraston to use in vitroglycosylation — the process of attaching carbohydrate / sugar molecules to proteins in order to modify their pharmacokinetic properties — to help PlantForm scale up BuChE production.
“PlantForm is excited about advancing our in vitro glycosylation technology with Dr. Wakarchuk and Dr. Boraston,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm’s President and CEO. “This project will expand our capabilities toward producing BuChE on a commercial scale.”
“We are looking forward to continued development of this glycosylation technology with PlantForm for therapeutic protein production,” Dr. Wakarchuk said.
PlantForm has produced recombinant BuChE using its high-yield, low-cost tobacco-plant-based vivoXPRESS® platform and conducted preclinical tests in an animal model. This new project with Dr. Wakarchuk aims to improve the glycosylation technology for BuChE and other next-generation protein drug candidates.
The GlycoNet funding of $226,000 is matched by cash and in-kind contributions from PlantForm, for a total of approximately $450,000 for the two-year project, which begins January 2018.
GlycoNet is a network of over 100 researchers at 29 Canadian universities and research institutes, along with industry and international partners, funded by the federal government through the Networks of Centres of Excellence. GlycoNet’s research program focuses on examining the effects of carbohydrates on biological systems in relation to five themes: antimicrobials, chronic diseases, diabetes and obesity, rare genetic diseases and therapeutic proteins and vaccines.
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