iBio Inc. and GE Healthcare announced a new global alliance to commercialize plant-based technologies for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and vaccines. The alliance builds on the existing development and marketing agreement between the two companies announced in 2010 and combines iBio's plant-based vaccine manufacturing platform, iBioLaunch, with GE Healthcare's capabilities in start-to-finish technologies for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. iBio's R&D collaborator, Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) will continue to play a key role in advancing the iBioLaunch platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The iBioLaunch platform is a proprietary gene expression technology that induces plants to rapidly produce high levels of proteins such as vaccines, in a process which can be easily and reliably scaled-up in low cost, controlled-growth facilities. GE Healthcare develops and produces start-to-finish technologies and tools used for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and other protein-based therapeutics. GE Healthcare's global team of bioengineers and bioprocessing scientists are working with researchers from iBio and CMB to develop a single, flexible facility which could significantly reduce the capital and operating costs of biotherapeutic and vaccine manufacture compared with traditional animal cell and microbial based methods. The iBioLaunch platform also has the potential to manufacture proteins which cannot be commercially produced in any other system.
Worldwide demand for biopharmaceuticals and vaccines is increasing dramatically, driven by ageing populations and the global effort to reduce the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases. In work funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, iBio's plant-based technology has been used to produce an avian influenza vaccine candidate that recently completed a successful Phase I clinical trial. The iBioLaunch platform was also used to produce a candidate vaccine against H1N1 influenza, for which a human Phase I trial was successfully completed in March, 2012. The alliance between the two companies aligns with GE's healthymagination initiative, which focuses on reducing cost, increasing access and improving quality in health care.GE Healthcare