The Hypertrans® (HT-CPMV) gene expression system was developed by Professor George Lomonossoff and Dr Frank Sainsbury at The John Innes Centre, Norwich for the transient expression of proteins in plants. The technology is already being industrialised in Canada and the US, where licensee Medicago Inc. is using this plant-based expression system for the rapid development and production of pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines, the most advanced of which are in phase II clinical trials.

Now the John Innes Centre has partnered with its main strategic funder the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Plant Bioscience Ltd to create a new company in the UK. Leaf Expression Systems® a new contract development business and specialises in the scale up of protein quantity from mg to gram using the proprietary Hypertrans® gene expression technology. The plant based transient expression of genes allows for the simultaneous production of multiple gene products in a controlled and coordinated manner within the leaves of plants.

Leaf Expression Systems uses the proprietary Hypertrans® expression technologies developed by Prof.George Lomonossoff at the John Innes Centre, UK. The Hypertrans system allows for the simultaneous production of multiple gene products in a controlled and coordinated manner within the tissues of plants. Using gene synthesis and modular vectors, new products can be developed, validated, scaled and produced very quickly. Potential applications of the technology include:

  • Production of complex proteins, such as antibodies or enzymes for research applications.
  • Production of antigens including virus-like particles for vaccine development or nano-technology.
  • Rapid prototyping and surge production in response to external circumstances.
  • Metabolic pathway engineering to generate complex biochemicals that are difficult or impossible to synthesise chemically or are only found in rare species or trace amounts in nature.

Leaf Expression Systems is based in state of the art facilities to produce and engineer its feedstock plants and has industry standard downstream processing capabilities to ensure production quality and bio-security.

The Leaf Expressions building was a challenging project and was built from start to finish in less that 12 months!