Chlorogen Inc. uses chloroplast technology, new to the plant biotech industry, to greatly increase the protein output of plants, which could yield a cost-effective supply of proteins for therapeutic uses. And, because chloroplast DNA is not inherited through pollen, Chlorogen's technology can prevent foreign genes from being transferred to other crops through pollen.
Investors include representatives of four leading venture capital companies: Burrill & Company of San Francisco; Redmont Venture Partners of Birmingham, Ala.; Prolog Ventures of St. Louis; and Harris & Harris Group Inc. of New York. UCF is providing the research and maintaining an equity share in the company, which is based in St. Louis.
Henry Daniell, one of the founders of Chlorogen and professor of Molecular and Microbiology and Trustee chair at UCF (http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~daniell), will lead the research efforts, building on his groundbreaking methods of growing drugs such as interferon in tobacco leaves.
"Tobacco is the fruit fly of plant research," Daniell says. Because of tobacco's prolific tendencies (a million seeds per plant) and its quick maturation (three months) it holds the potential to rapidly and inexpensively host a variety of human protein medicines, including interferon, insulin and human serum albumin and vaccines for anthrax, plague and cholera. Daniell points out that "it costs about $26,000 per Hepatitis C patient for interferon therapy (of a few months' duration). However, the daily income of one-third of the world's population is less than a dollar. There are over 800 million patients currently infected with Hepatitis C around the world. Thus, human therapeutic prote
Contact: Barb Abney
University of Central Florida