AntoXa awarded contract for anti-nerve agent enzyme

AntoXa Corporation has been awarded a contract with the Government of Canada to continue work on production of plant-made butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), a protein that provides protection against toxic nerve agents such as sarin and soman.

The one-year contract, worth up to $329,395, with a possible extension for two more years, advances earlier collaboration between Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and AntoXa’s parent company, PlantForm Corporation, and Drs. Warren Wakarchuk of Ryerson University and Alisdair Boraston of the University of Victoria.

The project will focus on evaluating multiple BuChE drug candidates and continue to develop and optimize the manufacturing process using PlantForm’s rapid, low-cost tobacco-plant-based vivoXPRESS® technology, said Ashley Meyers, AntoXa’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

“We’re pleased to continue our longstanding collaboration on BuChE with DRDC. The funding validates our medical countermeasures and highlights the growing need for an antidote to nerve agent exposure,” Meyers said.

“Events like the attempted assassination in Salisbury, England in 2018 and the repeated use of nerve agents in Syria underline the importance of our work to develop new approaches to protect against chemical terrorism agents.”

The contract brings the total value of contracts for the creation of stable glyco-modified Nicotiana benthamiana plant lines for the production of pharmaceutical proteins, and continued supply of recombinant butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) to DRDC, to nearly $1.3 million.

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