Chlorogen has an exclusive license for a technology patented by Daniell that precisely inserts a foreign gene or genes into small disk-shaped structures in plant cells known as "chloroplasts." The foreign gene becomes incorporated into the chloroplast's own DNA, allowing the growth of new plants with genetically identical cell structures.
Daniell says chloroplast genetic engineering offers several advantages over other forms of plant genetic engineering:
-- The technology is environmentally friendly. The foreign genetic material is totally contained in the chloroplast and is not transferred to the pollen, eliminating concerns about the transfer of introduced genes through pollen.
-- Genetic modification of chloroplasts permits the introduction of thousands of copies of foreign genes per plant cell, and generates extraordinarily high levels of foreign proteins.
-- Crop plants with genetically modified chloroplasts are relatively easy to grow on a large scale and provide a low-cost method of producing high-value proteins.
Because chloroplast greatly increases the protein output of plants, the technology could yield a cost-effective supply of proteins for therapeutic uses. Chlorogen's patented technology enables the plant to produce up to 1,000 times more introduced protein than other available technologies.
Chlorogen's first product will be human serum albumin, a protein with many clinical uses, including blood volume replacement during shock and treatment of severe burns. Albumin is currently obtained from plasma and is costly to use. Production of the protein using chloroplast genetic engineering eliminates the risk of disease transmission associated with blood products, and reduces the costs of use.