One early example of biopharming
was the production by the biotech company Ventria Bioscience of rice that contained two human proteins, lactoferrin and lysozyme.
In addition, biopharming offers tremendous flexibility and economy when adjustments in production are necessary.
Some of the demands of the Grocery Manufacturers of America and other food trade associations were reasonable, but not their recommendations to the FDA that food plants should be off limits for biopharming "unless the company developing the drug product clearly demonstrates that it is not feasible to use non-food crops" and that "land, labor and equipment [be] dedicated solely to growing" biopharmed products.
If regulation and other aspects of public policy don't unnecessarily inflate the costs of development, biopharming can revolutionize the pricing structure of many new drugs.
they have declined to establish non-zero tolerance levels for these substances, largely out of concern that opponents of biopharming would take advantage of such a move to proselytize against this new technology.
It appeases neither anti-biotech activists nor the food industry, both of which have simply used USDA'S zero-tolerance policy as a rationale to impose even greater regulation and other strictures on biopharming.
Farm and food activists worry that the events of fall 2002 will be little more than a bump in the road to the brave new world of biopharming.
Biopharming represents the new frontier of biotechnology, where agribusiness meets the pharmaceutical industry to explore a once unimaginable prospect: manipulating the genetic code of plants to induce them to generate AIDS vaccines, blood-clotting agents, digestive enzymes and industrial adhesives.
Biopharming pushes the limits of genetic engineering to a new plateau, where scientists re-engineer crops to produce drugs that can be extracted from kernels and beans far more cheaply than they can be produced in factories.
Though biopharming is still in the experimental stage, the experiment has already seen twenty corporations and universities conduct more than 315 open-air field trials in undisclosed locations.
Like plant biotechnology, the development of biopharming requires productive public/private partnerships.
A strong motivation for support of biopharming is the prospect for economic development, but that goal has to stand up to other challenges.