A short description of the available technology.

Plant Produced Biologics

Cape Bio Pharms (CBP) is an exciting company to commercialise the biotechnology developed by the Biopharming Research Unit at UCT. CBP's aim is to develop a world-class commercial-scale capability in RSA for the production of patented plant-produced enzymes, diagnostic reagents, recombinant proteins and vaccines for animal health. UCT and CBP is currently seeking funding to bring the first basket of products to market.

Intellectual Property Protection: 
Relevant intellectual property protection in place for this technology.
Market need/opportunity: 
Brief description of the technology’s market need.

Traditional protein production systems such as microbial fermentation, insect and mammalian cell cultures, bacteria, yeast or egg cultures, are all expensive systems to establish and run. Furthermore, they can take 3-5 years before they come online. These costs are a huge barrier to entry and places Africa at a distinct disadvantage in developing our own biotechnology capabilities. Moreover, producing proteins or vaccines in the traditional may take months, if not years, severely limiting our response time to meet health emergencies. The production of plant-based biologics, on the other hand, has a scientifically proven track record globally and a drastically shorter production timeline. Plant-made pharmaceuticals now include therapeutic proteins, antibodies and vaccines, industrial enzymes, technical proteins, milk proteins and protein polymers.

Value proposition/benefits: 
Brief description of the technology’s benefits.

An investment and partnership opportunity exists in Cape Bio Pharms (Pty) Ltd to exploit a lucrative portfolio of biological reagents and products arising from UCT Biopharming Research Unit's (BRU) research and design for use in diagnostics and vaccines. A significant product pipeline exists and new product opportunities can be pursued rapidly using the standard plant-based protein production technology that has been developed. The Cape Biopharms facility will be the first commercial-scale plant-produced facility of its kind in South Africa.

The attributes of the technology that makes it unique.

Plant-based protein manufacture is faster - a new protein can be expressed and purified within weeks; it's inexpensive - it will cost a tenth of the price and is far safer - plant pathogenic organisms cannot cause human disease, unlike the risks faced with mammalian cells. Furthermore, a strong, world-leading research team is involved in the opportunity.

Idea behind technology: 
The main idea behind the technology is described.

The aim of this venture is to develop a world class commercial-scale capability in South Africa for the production of patented plant-produced enzymes and diagnostic reagents. Biopharming now provides enormous opportunities for both the agricultural sector and the biotechnology business sector at the same time.

Team and expertise: 
The team and expertise behind the technology.

Prof Edward Rybicki, Dr. Inga Hitzeroth & Dr. Ann Meyers
UCT BRU Research Team
Cape Bio Pharms (Pty) Ltd

Opportunity type: 
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Organisation sector: 
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Technological area: 
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Technology Readiness Level: 
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The country in which the technology is/was developed.
The city where the technology developers are based.

Cape Town

Represented organisation or individual: 
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Reference number: 
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