ST. LOUIS, Missouri, October 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chlorogen, Inc. has signed a joint development and supply agreement with Sigma-Aldrich Fine Chemicals, a division of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation , which is expected to produce the first commercial products from chloroplast transformation technology (CTT). Sigma-Aldrich will fund an undisclosed portion of Chlorogen's efforts to produce four specific proteins in tobacco plants. The proteins will be sold to the reagent and cell culture markets and have pre-identified applications as active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Chloroplast transformation technology is a revolutionary new way of introducing genes into plants to produce beneficial proteins. Pharmaceutical proteins produced in plant cells provide safety and cost advantages over those produced from animal-derived cells. CTT should revolutionize plant-derived protein production by greatly increasing the protein output of plants and significantly lowering the cost of pharmaceutical production.
The current method of producing proteins in plants involves introducing a new gene into the cell nucleus. CTT, in contrast, introduces a new gene into the approximately100 chloroplasts within a plant cell. Each chloroplast contains about 100 copies of the plant's genetic structure. Therefore, chloroplast transformation can produce about 10,000 copies of the introduced gene per plant cell as opposed to only one or two via nuclear transformation. There is also an environmental advantage, because chloroplasts, which are inherited maternally, are not functional in tobacco pollen and cannot be transferred to conventional tobacco via pollen.
Sigma-Aldrich provides key products and services that support the biopharmaceutical industry, including active ingredients, research reagents and cell culture proteins.
Tom Gelineau, Director, New Business Development, said,
"Sigma-Aldrich's decision to fund the project represents a major commitment to a new technology that holds promise to increase production and substantially lower costs."
This is the first time that Sigma-Aldrich has funded the generation and development of transformed plants for large-scale production of reagent proteins. Prior to this agreement, the Company's involvement in the transgenic plant market has focused on the purification of proteins from biomass on a contract manufacturing basis as well as acting as a sales and marketing outlet for novel proteins.
"The interest to us is the potential to reduce customer costs and have a viable alternative to animal-derived proteins," Gelineau said. "In the initial work with Chlorogen, the expression levels in transformed tobacco have been very promising." The two companies expect to share the revenues from the finished protein products.
Dr. David Duncan, President and CEO of Chlorogen, a 3-year-old St. Louis company, said,
"The Sigma-Aldrich funding commitment is an important demonstration of confidence in CTT and our company's development team. We believe chloroplast transformation technology will revolutionize the way therapeutic and non-therapeutic proteins are produced. And we look forward to working with Sigma-Aldrich to bring the first products of CTT to reality."
Chlorogen, with headquarters in the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise in St. Louis, is a biopharmaceutical company committed to using its patented chloroplast transformation technology to become a world-class provider of beneficial proteins for human therapy. In addition to developing its own pharmaceutical pipeline, the company is pursuing collaborative arrangements for other applications of the technology.
Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company. Its biochemical and organic chemical products and kits are used in scientific and genomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and chemical manufacturing. Sigma-Aldrich has customers in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals, and in industry. Over one million scientists and technologists use its products. Sigma-Aldrich operates in 34 countries and has over 6,000 employees providing excellent service worldwide. The company is committed to the success of its Customers, Employees and Shareholders through leadership in Life Science, High Technology and Service. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its award-winning web site sigma-aldrich.com.
Sigma-Aldrich Cautionary Statement: This release contains forward-looking statements relating to future performance, goals, strategic actions and initiatives and similar intentions and beliefs and other statements regarding Sigma-Aldrich's expectations, goals, beliefs, intentions and the like regarding future sales, earnings and other matters. These statements involve assumptions regarding Company operations, investments and conditions in the markets the Company serves. Although the Company believes its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including, among others, certain economic, political and technological factors. Actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied in this news release, due to, but not limited to, such factors as (1) changes in pricing and the competitive environment, (2) other changes in the business environment in which the Company operates, (3) changes in research funding, (4) uncertainties surrounding government healthcare reform, (5) government regulations applicable to the business, (6) the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and (7) the ability to retain customers, suppliers and employees. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Chlorogen, Inc. and Sigma-Aldrich Fine Chemicals