Green Biologics: Harnessing the Power of Plants to Produce Pharmaceuticals.

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Plants are increasingly used for the production of high-quality biological molecules for use as pharmaceuticals and biomaterials in industry. Plants have proved that they can produce life-saving therapeutic proteins (Elelyso-Gaucher’s disease treatment, ZMapp-anti-Ebola monoclonal antibodies, seasonal flu vaccine, Covifenz-SARS-CoV-2 virus-like particle vaccine); however, some of these therapeutic proteins are difficult to bring to market, which leads to serious difficulties for the manufacturing companies. The closure of one of the leading companies in the sector (the Canadian biotech company Medicago Inc., producer of Covifenz) as a result of the withdrawal of investments from the parent company has led to the serious question: What is hindering the exploitation of plant-made biologics to improve health outcomes? Exploring the vast potential of plants as biological factories, this review provides an updated perspective on plant-derived biologics (PDB). A key focus is placed on the advancements in plant-based expression systems and highlighting cutting-edge technologies that streamline the production of complex protein-based biologics. The versatility of plant-derived biologics across diverse fields, such as human and animal health, industry, and agriculture, is emphasized. This review also meticulously examines regulatory considerations specific to plant-derived biologics, shedding light on the disparities faced compared to biologics produced in other systems.