John Howard

Title: Applications of generics enabled by a novel production platform
Time: 14:20 - 14:50


John Howard has over 30 years’ experience in directing biotechnology groups in research, regulatory, production, intellectual property, and business development for two Fortune 500 companies and two start-up companies. In addition to directing a number of technology innovations, he also directed the commercial introduction of the first plant biotechnology products for crop improvement and the first industrial and human health products produced from transgenic plants. He is an author on over 100 publications and patents in biotechnology.  Dr. Howard is the Founder and President of Applied Biotechnology Institute, a company focused on providing early stage research and development for plant biotechnology products targeted to industrial and pharmaceutical markets with minimal risk.

Research Interest


Over the past few decades, many products have been introduced by expressing recombinant proteins in alternative hosts. Microbial fermentation has dominated the industry providing a low cost option however, mammalian cell cultures are the preferred choice when post-translational modifications are needed.  First generation products did not place a high concern on cost of goods as these products were protected by patents.  This situation is changing as products come off patents coupled with the rising cost of health care.  To address this concern we identified several alternative production platforms with the ability to perform post-translational modifications and provide a low cost of goods. The host that showed the most promise was maize grain.  We have since made several improvements that allow for very high accumulation of a wide variety of proteins including proteins that have been difficult to express in other platforms.  The first products are now on the market with many more in the pipeline.  Furthermore, the system has been used to bioencapsulate proteins imparting new functionality. As an example, this has been used for the oral delivery of several different vaccine candidates providing protection against various pathogens and safety in human clinical trials. In summary, the system is well suited for products where: 1) expression is problematic in other platforms; 2) both low cost and post-translational modifications are required and; 3) oral delivery is beneficial.  Several examples will be discussed illustrating these features.