The next 15 years: taking plant-made vaccines beyond proof of concept.

Immunology and cell biology

PubMedID: 15877602

Kirk DD, Webb SR. The next 15 years: taking plant-made vaccines beyond proof of concept. Immunol Cell Biol. 2005;83(3):248-56.
Significant potential advantages are associated with the production of vaccines in transgenic plants; however, no commercial product has emerged. An analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for plant-made vaccine technology is provided. The use of this technology for human vaccines will require significant investment and developmental efforts that cannot be supported entirely by the academic sector and is not currently supported financially by industry. A focus on downstream aspects to define potential products, conduct of additional basic clinical testing, and the incorporation of multidisciplinary strategic planning would accelerate the potential for commercialization in this field. Estimates of production cost per dose and volume of production are highly variable for a model vaccine produced in transgenic tomato, and can be influenced by the optimization of many factors. Commercialization of plant-made vaccine technology is likely to be led by the agricultural biotechnology sector rather than the pharmaceutical sector due to the disruptive nature of the technology and the complex intellectual property landscape. The next major milestones will be conduct of a phase II human clinical trial and demonstration of protection in humans. The achievement of these milestones would be accelerated by further basic investigation into mucosal immunity, the codevelopment of oral adjuvants, and the integration of quality control standards and good manufacturing practices for the production of preclinical and clinical batch materials.