Collagen is essential for healthy-looking skin, and is the most abundant type of protein found in the connective tissues. Collagen can be commercially produced and injected into the skin to heal wounds, fill out fine lines and wrinkles, and is also used in surgical implants and wound healing devices.
Commercial collagen is produced from farm animals including cows, pigs and human cadavers, but a recent study from a scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment has been able to replicate human collagen from tobacco plants.
Professor Oded Shoseyov of the Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture has established a laboratory that has been able to replicate all five essential genes in transgenic tobacco plants to produce processed pro-collagen. He has earned the Kaye Innovation Award for his work, and his invention has been patented, within findings published in the Biomacromolecules journal. The Kaye Awards are designed to encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with commercial potential. The awards have been given each year since 1994, and were established by Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry.
CollPlant Ltd. Is the company behind the patents and technology that were developed after the discovery, and the company has raised $15 million to establish itself as the first commercial molecular farming company in Israel. The company has already started to manufacture collagen-based products and attracted collaborative commercial interest from several companies located in Japan, Europe, Israel and the United States.
CollPlant is a publicly traded company and has an estimated revenue in the multi-million dollar range.
Source: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2010, June 10). Collagen manufactured from transgenic tobacco plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 7