SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Plant factory built as alternative method for vaccine production

A Joseph von Fraunhofer prize is being issued to two Fraunhofer researchers from the United States for their development of a plant factory which mass produces vaccines in a shorter amount of time than traditional methods.

Professor Dr. Andre Sharon from the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation and Professor Dr. Vidadi Yusibov are the recipients of the Fraunhofer prize for their innovative plant factory, which isfully integrated and automated and meets Good Manufacturing Practices regulations. The facility was built for the production of biopharmaceuticals to offer an alternative to traditional chicken-egg production methods.

The facility recently received a contract from the U.S. government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for an alternative method for vaccine production, after a vaccine shortage occurred in 2009 during the Swine Flu epidemic. The Fraunhofer team of researchers, which built and operate the facility, say the method of plant productions works just as well as the traditional method, if not better.

"Our teams of biologists and engineers succeeded in building up our automated plant-based vaccine production factory," Sharon said. "Now we have plants that consistently grow and make proteins to the same predictable quality, time after time whenever and wherever we like - crazy as that might sound."

The pilot facility is capable of producing 2.5 million units of vaccine per month.