First GMO plant-made drug on the market

Carrots ready to produce enzyme against gaucher disease

For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today has approved a drug produced in a genetically engineered plant cell. Among those cheering the news are scientists who have advocated ‘bio-pharming’.

The drug, Elelyso (taliglucerase alfa), soothes the symptoms in most patients of the rare lysosomal storage disorder Gaucher disease, which causes problems ranging from bone infections to anaemia. Scientists at the Israeli biotechnology company Protalix Biotherapeutics developed a method to create the human enzyme that these patients lack in carrot cells, by inserting a gene that encodes the protein into the cells. Patients treated with the resulting enzyme (taliglucerase alfa) in clinical trials fared at least as well as those given another enzyme-replacement therapy on the market, Cerezyme.

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Tags: ‘bio-pharming’, Elelyso, Cerezyme


News Blog, 2012-05-02.


Canaccord Genuity
Department of Plant Agriculture
Genzyme Corp.
National Gaucher Foundation
Protalix Biotherapeutics
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


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