Company will explore biodefense and civilian applications with researchers from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Protalix BioTherapeutics signed an agreement with two universities to develop a plant cell-based acetylcholinestrase (AChE) and its molecular variants for the use in several therapeutic and prophylactic indications, including a biodefense program.

Under the agreement, Protalix has licensed the technology underlying AChe from the Yissum Research and Development Company, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research.

In vitro experiments have also shown that the AChE protein expressed in Protalix’ plant cell ProCellEx™ system demonstrates biological activity at both the biochemical and the cellular levels, according to the company.

The work is based on research conducted in the laboratory of Hermona Soreq, dean of faculty of science at the Hebrew University. “After many years of research, we have come to understand the many translational benefits which can be achieved from using the AChE protein for therapeutic applications,” she says.

“Protalix’ technology platform is an excellent fit for Professor Soreq’s discoveries in the field of AChE for use in the biodefense area and in other therapeutic applications,” points out Nava Swersky Sofer, president and CEO of Yissum

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