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Meet Florian Cardon, COO Samabriva
August 2021

What can a ‘hairy root’ do?

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.    

Florian Cardon is Chief Operating Officer for Samabriva, one of four small to medium enterprises (SMEs) seeking to commercialise Plant Molecular Farming technologies on Pharma Factory. Samabriva has developed a way to induce an edible plant to develop ‘hairy roots’ able to produce therapeutics. Within these tiny plant organs, complex human proteins can be produced. These proteins can replace the body’s faulty proteins  as Enzyme Replacement Therapies (ERTs) devoted to treat patients with rare Inherited Metabolic Diseases such as Lysosomal Storage Disorders.

It really is an incredible feat of plant biotechnology.  

The story isn’t over however, and there are still improvements that need to be made before  Samabriva’s technology can produce, at industrial scale,   this potentially life-saving drug.

This is where Pharma Factory plays an important role. Through this project Samabriva can access cutting-edge techniques from scientists across Europe to improve its products and take the next step towards making this drug available to patients who desperately need new more effective therapies.   

Hello Florian, can you tell us about why you chose to work with Plant Molecular Farming technologies?

“Today, plants play a key role in medicine, foods, or ecology. It is an important part of the world and a priority for new politics. In parallel, sciences developed new tools which help to elucidate (their) mystery or to improve their technological features. I think that it is interesting to merge both and to engineer plants in order to develop new innovative methods to produce therapeutic products or to improve their efficacy. It is a limitless subject that can revolutionize the way pharmaceutical products are produced. At the time being, microorganisms and animals are the main sources of heterologous molecules, but plants already demonstrated their potential in this field. So why not plants?”

Why is Samabriva involved in a project like Pharma Factory? What have you enjoyed most about this project?

“In this way, Samabriva proposes to produce therapeutic molecules from a plant-based expression system, the hairy roots cultivated in sterile and confined environment. This technology allows to produce bio-better therapeutics as well as new products in agreement with regulatory guidelines. PharmaFactory is a consortium of leading scientists in their domain and allows Samabriva’s team to develop its technology with key opinion leaders who drive forwardinnovative ways to produce therapeutic molecules. Sharing their expertise to help us improve our technology is very stimulating.”

How could Plant Molecular Farming change the world for the better? What does the future look like where Plant Molecular Farming technologies are ‘the norm’? 

“Molecular Farming is an opportunity for the world. When PMF will be the norm, additional methods or products will be available to address unmet medical needs. The world will have more potential answers to solve medicinal issues such as a pandemic, which is an actual reality. In few words: ‘a new opportunity for a better efficacy’!”

To find out more please visit Samabriva’s website and look out for further announcements about the Pharma Factory exhibition and our other public engagement activities.

Brassica rapa rapa roots growing on agar
Samabriva LLC
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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