Johannesburg, 16 July 2012 — The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and ICON, Munich/Halle, Germany, have announced that they have entered into an agreement that will allow the CSIR to make use of its plant-based manufacturing platform known as ‘magnICON®’ for research and development (R&D) and royalty-free manufacturing of rabies vaccines and post-exposure prophylaxis antibodies against rabies for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. There are 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, most of which are in dire need of efficient and affordable medicines to control the scourge of rabies. Under the recently signed agreement, ICON will provide the materials, know-how, training, R&D licence, as well as royalty free commercial licence option to the CSIR.
magnICON® technology is a set of transient gene expression processes that allow for a rapid and high-level expression of recombinant proteins, in particular pharmaceuticals, in green plants. The speed, efficiency and yield of recombinant protein from plants provided by magnICON® is the highest in the industry based on Frost & Sullivan’s independent analysis of recombinant expression systems.
Dr Victor Klimyuk, ICON’s Chief Operations Officer, said: ”We admire efforts at the CSIR to develop the new medicines for underprivileged parts of the world’s population. The signed contract provides our colleagues at the CSIR with access to one of the most advanced expression technologies in the Plant-made Pharmaceuticals (PMP) field for the development of new biopharmaceuticals so much needed for the Sub-Saharan Africa region.”
Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR’s Group Executive, Strategic Alliances and Communication, said: ”Biopharming represents a unique opportunity for countries like South Africa to participate in the local production of high value biotechnology drugs and reagents for human and animal health. We have partnered over the years with ICON and other organisations in the development of some of our products, and this alliance creates a formidable partnership which brings together global state-of-the-art technologies on the plant made pharmaceuticals value chain.”
Dr Chikwamba added, ”The CSIR is indeed privileged to continuing work with this alliance to address some of the challenges in the local availability of high value pharmaceuticals, particularly for infectious and emerging chronic diseases.”
About the CSIR
The CSIR is one of the leading research and development (R&D), technology and innovation institutions in Africa, with a track record spanning more than 65 years. Structured to manage the entire research and innovation value chain, the CSIR strives for excellence in all its endeavors in order to improve the quality of life of South Africa’s people and to increase the global competitiveness of South African industry. Specific areas of focus are the built environment, health, energy, the natural environment, defence and security, as well as the needs of industry. These areas are underpinned by key enabling technologies such as information and communications technology, photonics, robotics, materials sciences, optronics and biotechnology, as well as leading scientific infrastructure. The CSIR — Our future through science For further information, please visit www.csir.co.za.
Tendani Tsedu, CSIR Media Relations Manager
Tel: +27 12 841 3417
Mobile: +27 82 945 1980
Icon Genetics, a plant biotechnology company, is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Nomad Bioscience GmbH, Munich, Germany. The company discovers and develops new biopharmaceuticals and high-value protein products using green plants as production hosts. ICON offers new plant manufacturing technologies which address speed, yield, precision, expression control and safety of product manufacturing in plants. ICON operates its own cGMP-compliant manufacturing facility in Halle, Germany. ICON’s own pipeline includes several ’biobetter’ anti-cancer antibodies (pre-clinical stage).
Victor Klimyuk, ICON Chief Operations Officer
Tel: +49 345 555 9885