Danish investors back a hothouse biotech idea  

2003.01.29
Cobento Biotech gets DKK 25 million investment to develop idea for making therapeutic proteins from plants using gene technology

Aarhus-based fledgling company Cobento Biotech has scooped a DKK 25 million (USD 3.6 million) investment from Incuba Venture, Østjysk Innovation, Innfond and the Danish Growth Fund (Vækstfonden) to further develop an idea for turning plants (the kind with leaves on) into miniature drug factories. The six scientists from Aarhus University who co-founded Cobento Biotech with Aarhus University Hospital have patented a technique which uses gene technology to make plants synthesise proteins for the treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency.

 

According to Cobento Biotech, hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency due to the lack of a protein called Intrinsic Factor which binds the vitamin to the cells in the body. Studies with the first test plants have shown that they can indeed be induced to produce Intrinsic Factor. Cobento Biotech is the only biotech company in Denmark which uses gene technology to produce therapeutic proteins from plants, and worldwide is the only company to use plants for producing a protein for B12 deficiency. Cobento Biotech clearly thinks it is onto a winner – the company anticipates a turnover of between DKK 500 million (USD 73 million) and DKK 1 billion (USD 146 million) in 10 years time. The news was reported in national broadsheet Jyllands-Posten.

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