Molecular farming

Barley has always played an important part in human history. Growing like a grass, it was one of the first domesticated grains, used for both food and brewing, and it contributed to a shift in human culture in Eurasian civilizations.

For us, barley possesses unique characteristics, qualities that make it perfectly suited to our biotechnology needs – it is the perfect host for producing replicas of human growth factors.

First and foremost is the fact that barley is a closed biological system: it’s self-pollinating, meaning its pollen will not pollinate flowers on a different plant. Not only is interspecies cross-pollination impossible, but the barley plant will not even pollinate another, identical barley plant growing mere feet away.

This is extremely important in terms of purity, but it is also vital for contained, responsible production of human proteins, or “molecular farming.”

With a closed system, no pollen with new genes can be spread to the flowers of other plants. This stunning fact means that BIOEFFECT can grow its twenty-five different growth factors in different barley plants, all in the same ecological greenhouse, with no risk of cross-breeding.

This doesn’t make barley unique: there are many other plants that are self-pollinating, including certain kinds of orchids, peas, and sunflowers. However, barley is also an ecologically contained system, meaning its seeds will not survive in natural habitats: it has to be cultivated to grow!

This makes barley biologically and ecologically contained, able to be grown only in farmers’ fields or in our high-tech greenhouse.

Barley also possesses another useful characteristic for molecular farming: it safely stores all its new proteins, including BIOEFFECT´s growth factors, in its seeds, where they are protected from breaking down or deactivating. Plants have an immense biological complexity, but in barley, BIOEFFECT found a plant whose complexity perfectly suits our biotechnology.

BIOEFFECT’S breakthrough barley moment occurred when our scientists first transferred a new gene into it in 2003. By 2006, they developed a stable replica of human growth factor (EGF) for production.

BIOEFFECT became the first company to produce a portfolio of human growth factors in plants, specifically barley. When companies in the US, South Korea, and Japan began putting growth factors in skincare products, using the E.coli bacteria or human tissue as a growth medium, BIOEFFECT saw an opportunity for our uniquely pure, barley-grown growth factors. In stark contrast to other skincare companies, our barley-grown growth factors carry absolutely no risk of human-transmitted diseases or bacterial endotoxins, unlike those companies that grow it in E. coli or in human cells.