Phyton Biotech partners with Agenus to revolutionize QS-21 production



FORT WORTH, Texas – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Phyton Biotech today announced an exclusive partnership with Agenus Inc. to develop an alternative manufacturing process for QS-21 to ensure a sustainable supply of this key vaccine ingredient.

Agenus received an approximately $ 1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a proof-of-concept study to make QS-21 directly from plant cell cultures. The new manufacturing process will be developed using the unique plant cell fermentation (PCF®) technological platform from Phyton Biotech, within the framework of an exclusive partnership with Agenus. The expected result of the R&D project is to demonstrate that PCF® is a feasible alternative model for the consistent, large-scale, low-cost and commercial production of high-quality QS-21, independent of any potential geopolitical or environmental threats. .

QS-21 is a purified plant extract used as a potent adjuvant in various vaccines targeting infectious and endemic diseases in developing countries, such as malaria, and is currently under clinical evaluation as an adjuvant for many candidates for vaccine development, including Agenus’ own cancer vaccines. . The adjuvant increases the effectiveness of vaccines by enhancing and broadening immune responses to antigens in a vaccine.

The current approach to producing QS-21 from natural sources is to extract the compound from the bark of soap (Quillaja saponaria), an evergreen species native to Chile. As demand increases for the potent saponin, overexploitation of soap bark threatens ecological sustainability and the supply of Q. saponaria trees.

“Phyton Biotech is delighted to partner with Agenus to launch an innovative approach to the development of QS-21 from plant cell cultures to ensure a continued supply of this globally important vaccine ingredient,†said Colin Marr , president of Phyton Biotech. “Based on our past successes in using PCF® to revolutionize the manufacturing processes of other high-value phytochemicals, we are optimistic about our ability to succeed in this exciting initiative and deliver significant public health benefits. to poor and developing countries. ”

Phyton Biotech is globally recognized for its paclitaxel and docetaxel manufacturing processes and its expertise in developing supply solutions for other difficult-to-manufacture secondary metabolites, such as thapsigargine and ingenol mebutate, from cultures. plant cells using PCF®. The company’s award-winning green chemistry model focuses on the development of plant cell cultures and offers superior advantages in quality, reliability, environment and cost over other methods of producing complex small molecules, plant active ingredients and recombinant proteins.

About Phyton Biotech
Phyton Biotech, a 100% subsidiary of DFB Pharmaceuticals, is the world leader in plant cell fermentation (PCF®) technology, offering comprehensive services for the development and commercialization of molecules, extracts and recombinant products based on plants, serving the pharmaceutical industry, Chinese Traditional medicine, cosmetics, agricultural and food ingredients industries. By using PCF®, Phyton Biotech offers a balanced path in terms of time, risk and cost towards commercially viable production processes, overcoming limitations often encountered with traditional plant extraction and chemical synthesis.

As a leader in biotechnology with GMP certified facilities in Germany and Canada, Phyton has a successful track record in developing and implementing innovative contract development solutions for clients around the world. Phyton Biotech is now the world’s largest producer of paclitaxel and docetaxel via PCF®, with the ability to meet more than a third of the global demand for these essential active pharmaceutical ingredients. For more information, please visit

About Agenus
Agenus is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on the discovery and development of therapies that mobilize the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The Company’s vision is to expand the patient populations benefiting from cancer immunotherapy by pursuing combined approaches that take advantage of a broad repertoire of therapeutic antibodies, proprietary cancer vaccine platforms and adoptive cell therapies. (via its subsidiary AgenTus Therapeutics). The Company is equipped with a suite of antibody discovery platforms and a state-of-the-art BPF manufacturing facility capable of supporting early stage clinical programs. Agenus is headquartered in Lexington, MA. For more information, please visit
and Twitter manages @agenus_bio.



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