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Current events

Le 26/01/2015

TerpFactory project: to identify and produce plant molecules of therapeutic interest

The Lorraine-based biotechnologies company, PAT, is entering into partnership with the CNRS' Institut de biologiemoléculaire des plantes(Institute of Plant Molecular Biology). This R&D project goes by the name of TerpFactoryand shall lead to the production and marketing of a plant-based active substance with anti-inflammatory properties.



This is the association of the CNRS' largest plant biology research centre with a flourishing Lorraine-based biotechnologies company. Launched in January, the TerpFactoryproject is a public-private partnership between the Institute of Plant Molecular Biology (IBMP) and Plant Advanced Technologies-SA (PAT). Based in Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, this company produces rare plant-based active substances designed for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, perfume and agrochemical markets. With TerpFactory, its primary concern today is the production of a potent anti-inflammatory of the terpene family that comes from an endangered plant species. The partners' challenge: to clear the way for biosynthesis of this molecule of interest so as to be able to build biotechnological tooling with a view to the development of processes and marketing.

Produce a molecule in great number with high added value and at a reduced cost

A leading resource for manufacturers from the pharmaceutical and perfumery domain, terpenes have already enabled the development of medication used in the treatment of certain cancers. They are also the basic ingredients associated with the plant fragrances of perfumes. TerpFactory's partners will take an interest in the metabolism of a molecule with high added value from this family so as produce it in great number and at a reduced cost. We refer here to metabolic engineering. Funded by the AgenceNationale de la Recherche (National Research Agency), this research work will be carried out over a three-year period within the context of a LabCom*, the first of this type in the plant domain. The IBMP will provide expertise on the metabolism of terpenes so as to produce the asset in a plant host,then the PAT company will adapt this work to launch a large-scale operation in greenhouses.


Founded in 2005, PAT is a spin-off of Lorraine University and the INRA . The company employs 34 staff and develops quite unique production processes based on a plant cultivation technique involving aeroponics(above ground). Last November, it was awarded the Technology Fast 50 prize for its growth in turnover over the past 5 years: 1,157%.


* Le programme Laboratoires communs ou LabCom a pour objet d'inciter les acteurs de la recherche publique à créer de nouveaux partenariats structurés entre une entreprise (PME/ETI) et un laboratoire de recherche public.

Source : CNRS et PAT

Légende photo : racines produisant les molécules d'intérêt – plantes sous serres / © PAT

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