Clive & Vera Ramaciotti Facility for Producing Pharmaceuticals in Plants

The Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Facility for Producing Pharmaceuticals in Plants (CVRF-PPP) is aimed at refining the conditions to produce peptide pharmaceuticals in plants and the scale-up of their production.

The new drugs will be incorporated into novel plant products such as seeds, medicinal teas and foods. It offers the potential to dramatically reduce the cost and increase availability of next-generation medicines. This is particularly attractive to developing countries where drugs for treatment of diseases such as HIV/AIDS are available but prohibitively expensive for most people. It will be possible to make a medicinal tea from modified plant leaves or simply swallow a ‘biopill’ seed from a locally-grown plant.  

One promising application of the technology concerns a peptide extracted from cone snails. It has been shown to be around 100 times more potent than gabapentin, a medication currently used by millions of people to treat pain associated with nerve damage, and is free of the side effects associated with drugs like morphine.

It is expected that plant-produced pharmaceuticals will be approved for widespread use as soon as 2025. The technology could have considerable positive impacts on patients suffering cancer, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis and pain.

The facility’s mass spectrometry equipment and expert staff are available for assistance with plant-based peptide production and general consultation.