British American Tobacco launches plant-based biotech KBio

The UK-headquartered biotech will combine British American Tobacco’s plant-based technology capabilities with subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing. In 2020, Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), the wholly owned subsidiary of the Big Tobacco firm British American Tobacco (BAT), entered the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Development of the candidate is ongoing, but the program, will now fall under the arm of KBio Holdings Limited (KBio), a newly launched biotech incorporating the two entities. “It’s a new company, which essentially incorporates KBP activities and aims to accelerate future activities,” a spokesperson from the firm told.

“It is not a rebrand, it’s a new company. BAT believes very strongly in the potential of biotech and thought the best way to optimize this technology was to create a new company with a tailored focus and expertise.” The new entity will focus on using tobacco plants to develop biologics and vaccines for rare and infectious diseases.

“BAT copied a portion of the genetic sequence of the coronavirus antigen BAT developed; this is the substance that induces an immune response in the body and the production of antibodies,” the spokesperson told us.

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