Delivering new and innovative high value products using plant molecular farming

14 partners, 7 countries,
5 SMEs, 3 public research
institutions and 6 universities


Molecular Farming is the manufacture of high-value products using plant biotechnology.

Pharma-Factory is a research project conceived and designed by Molecular Farming companies, to advance medical, veterinary and diagnostic products. Two of these products will be marketed within the lifetime of the project, and all others will reach technological validation.

Pharma-Factory aims to maximize impact by engaging with all stakeholders from scientists to government and the public at large, developing new tools to facilitate communication, to help understand and reduce barriers to acceptance.

We will clarify the wider regulatory environment around Molecular Farming by engaging with relevant agencies regarding issues of generic importance to the field, whilst giving our SMEs an opportunity to more easily seek scientific advice.

14 partners from 7 countries, including 5 SMEs, 3 public research institutions and 6 universities, are taking part in the project.
Pharma-Factory’s overarching objectives are to remove technical, regulatory and public acceptance bottlenecks that currently hinder the transition of Molecular Farming from the laboratory stage towards the market, foster innovation and raise competitiveness of Plant Molecular Farming SMEs, their platforms and/or their products and product pipelines.

Pharma-Factory is funded for 4 years by the European Commission as an Innovation Action under Horizon 2020.

Pharma-Factory partners are committed to open access for research findings. View our publications here
Our research outputs are listed in CORDIS Building the product pipeline for commercial demonstration of Plant Molecular Factories | Pharma-Factory Project | Results | H2020 | CORDIS | European Commission. 

“EU-funded projects have made a fantastic international contribution to making plant-based pharmaceuticals a reality. This is reflected both in scientific excellence and the creation of numerous SMEs. The time is now ripe to realise the benefits of this investment through the commercialisation of plant-based products and it is the primary objective of the current project to achieve this.”

Professor Julian Ma,
Pharma-Factory Co-ordinator

The global market
for bioengineered protein drugs was $172.5 in 2016 and it is expected to reach $228.4 billion
by 2021.


Explore Molecular Farming with our Question Cards

25th January 2023
Our library of Q&A cards is available for free download!

Interested in exploring molecular farming in an educational or public engagement setting?

Our collection of Q&A cards are great prompts for discussion!

Choose from:

Or receive a printed set by requesting them with the Plant Molecular Farming kit ISPMF.  

The PMF kit:
Get Hands-on with Plant Molecular Farming

20th January 2023
Do you need to express a recombinant protein? If so, you have choices, from bacteria to yeast, insect cells and mammalian cells. But have you considered going green?

Plants have been used since the 1980s as expression platforms for recombinant proteins. There are many ways to do this, but this kit, provides you with materials and instructions to demonstrate or conduct a “transient expression”, a method that anyone with research laboratory experience will be able to use. And you don’t need to have green thumbs! For an initial period, PMF Kits are being provided free of charge. Find out more via our partner, the International Society for Plant Molecular Farming

Pharma Factory exhibition

24th January 2022
Pharma Factory exhibition posters now
available to view!

One of the unique features of the Pharma Factory project has been the stakeholder engagement workshops which have been carried out using co-design to discover the perceived benefits of PMF technologies, as well as the barriers to acceptance.

The workshops have proven to be immensely valuable for understanding the popular view of biotechnology and the link to how we value pharmaceuticals that bring clear benefits to patient experiences.

We were therefore very excited to be able to finally communicate this work to wider audiences in the Pharma Factory exhibitions at Fete de la Science at University of Rouen, Normandy and Norwich Science Fair in the UK, last October.

We plan to take the exhibition to additional venues in 2022. In the meantime, you can now view and download the exhibition posters and resources, including the Pharma Factory Glossary and the Stakeholder Roadmap in French and English, here.

We would appreciate any feedback that you may have on the posters, resources and the project, please drop us a line here.   

Pharma Factory Glossary
Stakeholder Roadmap

Exhibition posters
Pharma Factory Glossary
Stakeholder Roadmap

Meet Florian Cardon, COO of Samabriva

31st August 2021
What can a ‘hairy root’ do?

In the first of a series of interviews, meet Florian Cardon as he talks about the miracle of these tiny thread-like plant organs and why projects like Pharma Factory are so important for an entrepreneur.    

Find out more about Florian’s work on our new Meet the team page...

‘Spotlight on Science’ falls on COVID-19

17th July 2021
Pharma-Factory PI Professor Julian Ma and colleagues at St George’s, University of London provide a inside view of work to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic at one of the UK’s key centres of healthcare research.

Watch the videos here:

Coronavirus Vaccines (full version) - YouTube

Reasons for hope - YouTube

Coronavirus: What we know so far and what we can do - YouTube

Pharma-Factory, Plant Molecular Farming and COVID-19

2nd February 2021
Plant molecular farming technologies are making valuable contributions to the fight against COVID-19 while providing opportunities to address issues surrounding affordability and global access.
Our consortium is working on a innovative plant-made reagents for the study of COVID-19 and the SARS-COV-2 virus to the scientific and pharmaceutical industry. You can find more information about Pharma-Factory’s COVID-19 activities on our partners’ pages at Leaf Expression Systems and in our publication.

TedX ‘How to Improve Health with a Global Killer’

13th Aug 2019

Professor Julian Ma presents the potential of Molecular Farming to address the unmet global need for medicines at a TedX event in London.

Co-Design methods to explore stakeholder values– a new short film from Pharma Factory

19th May 2019

In addition to advancing PMP technologies, a core aim of Pharma Factory is to understand their value to a variety of stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement is being explored jointly by St Georges’ University of London (SGUL) and University of the Arts London (UAL) as part of work package 2. 

In early 2019, design researchers from UAL designed and facilitated bespoke co-design workshops involving participants from Pharma Factory SMEs and academic institutions to understand how they perceive the value of the new technologies to a range of stakeholders.

The co-design methods used are presented in this new short film, which explains their purpose and relevance to the broader project.

For more information please contact Alison Prendiville   

Pharma-Factory attends the High Value Chemicals from Plants Meeting

1st October 2018

Sebastian Fuller (SGUL) and Alison Prendiville (LCC, UAL) presented Pharma-Factory: A framework for public engagement and co-design for plant molecular farming at the High Value Chemicals from Plants (HVCfP) annual meeting on 1 October 2018 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. The meeting was attended by over 80 delegates from academic institutions and industry across the UK, and included 20 speakers on topics varying from initial insights from proof of concept studies to understanding the commercial value and impact on the market of developed products using plant molecular farming technologies.  

The HVCfP network aims to:
  • Identify high value products from plants and optimise their production in plants or alternative production systems
  • Provide leadership to address key technology challenges which currently limit the utilisation of high value chemicals from plants
  • Develop the UK as a leading producer of high value chemicals from plants

View the slides from our presentation >

Pioneering plant technology unveiled at the London Design Festival

18th September 2018

Pharma-Factory researchers have been closely involved in work that is being presented at the London Design Festival. 'Plant Designer' showcases the state-of-the-art technologies involved in plant molecular farming, which uses engineered plants to produce large quantities of molecules for uses including medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and cosmetic products.

Sebastian Fuller says, “Plant Designer will be a place for festival goers to explore their views and opinions of this new technology through play.”

Julian Ma adds, "Events like this show our commitment and continuing involvement in European collaborative research. While there is uncertainty for the immediate future, we all hope that in the long-term Brexit will not compromise UK science's ability to engage with our European colleagues."

Kick-off meeting
at the University de Rouen, France
May 2018

Pharma-Factory held its inaugural meeting in Northern France, January 23rd – 24th 2018, hosted by Professor Muriel Bardor. The meeting provided an opportunity for partners to discuss their background research, plan early work between the SME and academic partners, and form new ideas. The meeting was also attended by Isabelle van Borm, EC project officer for the Pharma-Factory consortium.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774078.

Pharma Factory copyright 2018

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