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Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology Awarded $8.5M Contract from DARPA for Accelerated Manufacture of Biopharmaceuticals

5/30/2007 12:24:40 PM

PLYMOUTH, Mich., May 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology ("Fraunhofer USA CMB"), based in Newark, Delaware, was awarded a $2.6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to further develop and validate a novel system for accelerated manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals. The total value of the effort, if all phases of the development program are completed, could be $8.5 million.

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Under Phase I of the DARPA contract, Fraunhofer USA CMB will validate its unique plant-based technology platform for the rapid, cost-effective production of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. The Fraunhofer USA CMB platform can significantly reduce the time required from the identification of infectious agents to the manufacture of millions of doses of medical countermeasures. Fraunhofer USA CMB's technology employs a proprietary vector system and non-genetically modified plants for time-efficient and cost- effective production of vaccines, antibodies and therapeutic proteins.

Fraunhofer USA CMB has established an effective partnership with industry and academia to accomplish the goals of this project. The Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation will design process automation, Integrated BioPharma, Inc. will scale-up downstream protein purification, AMEC Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. will be responsible for process and facility engineering and Delaware State University will optimize non-transgenic seed production and storage.

"This contract from DARPA will significantly accelerate our development of this much-needed technology that addresses some of the concerns affecting current biopharmaceutical manufacturing," said Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, Executive Director of Fraunhofer USA CMB. "Our unique vectors, combined with non- genetically modified plants, provide a rapid and highly scalable platform for cost-effective manufacturing."

Fraunhofer was awarded this contract under DARPA's Accelerated Manufacture of Pharmaceutics Program; a multiphase initiative designed to direct novel biological systems to quickly produce life saving medical countermeasures for today's naturally-occurring, intentionally-released and pandemic biological threat agents. The goal of this program is to generate 3 million doses of vaccine or immune-therapeutic within 12 week of an outbreak, and to do so at extremely low cost using highly resilient, rigorously controlled, GMP-quality production platforms.

About Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology:

Fraunhofer USA CMB is a unique institution conducting research in the area of plant biotechnology and is developing cutting edge technologies for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human and animal diseases. CMB is located in Newark, Delaware and houses individuals with expertise and excellence in plant virology, pathology, molecular biology, immunology, vaccinology, protein engineering and biochemistry. Fraunhofer USA CMB is part of Fraunhofer USA, Inc., a non-profit research and development corporation, with headquarters in Michigan. It operates through technology centers that are partnered with major research universities in the United States and also with parent research institutes in Germany.

Contact: Vidadi Yusibov, tel: 302/369-3776,, or Frances Roland-Lee, tel: 734/354-4333,

To learn more about Fraunhofer USA, Inc., please visit

Photo: NewsCom: Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.orgPRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.comFraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology

CONTACT: Vidadi Yusibov, +1-302-369-3776,, orFrances Roland-Lee, +1-734-354-4333,, both ofFraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology

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