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Medicago, Mitsubishi in Plant Production Pact

By Gil Roth | January 28, 2013

Will explore hydroponic system in biopharma protein system

Medicago and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. (MCHC) have formed a collaboration agreement to develop a next-generation technology for plant production.  The objectives of the collaboration are to evaluate MCHC's Plant Factory System, a closed cultivation system, to produce Nicotiana Benthamiana plants for protein production using Medicago's technologies.

MCHC has developed a Plant Factory System, a closed hydroponic system to grow plants, which is currently used for industrial scale vegetable production in Japan and other countries. Using solar panels and LED lighting, it is meant to achieve efficient, clean, safe and environmentally friendly plant production which is not dependent on weather conditions. These features can provide tightly controlled conditions and reproducibility which are key elements to ensure reliable biopharmaceutical production in different geographies and climates.

Medicago and MCHC will work together exclusively for one year to evaluate the potential of combining MCHC's Plant Factory System with Medicago's plant protein production technologies.

"Our goal is to develop a highly effective, closed plant production system with our partner, Mitsubishi," said Andy Sheldon, president and chief executive officer of Medicago. "This system would be designed to enhance our capacity and further decrease operating costs, whilst facilitating new applications of Medicago's technology. We are pleased to build upon our existing strategic relationship with Mitsubishi and look forward to continuing to strengthen the synergies between our two companies."

"We are pleased to intensify our collaboration with Medicago to further combine our strengths," said Dr. Seiichi Kiso, executive officer, head of Healthcare Solutions Office of MCHC. "Medicago and Mitsubishi have both developed very promising technologies and we see a significant opportunity from joining the two technologies into a next generation plant protein production platform."

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