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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Dorman-owned company names new president

Phyton Biotech unifies international operations under new leadership to support company growth and diversified operations

DFB Pharmaceuticals, a Fort Worth-based private investment group developing new products and businesses in health care, has promoted Colin Marr to president of Phyton Ltd., the world’s leader in commercial-scale plant cell fermentation technology and DFB’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

“I am very pleased to promote Colin to the role of president of Phyton Biotech, overseeing both the Canadian and German divisions of the company and a long-term strategy focused on its overall growth and diversification,” Paul Dorman, chairman and CEO of DFB Pharmaceuticals, said in the release.

Phyton uses plant cell fermentation technology to manufacture two of the most crucial cancer-fighting drugs from cell cultures. Phyton Biotech is the world’s largest producer of paclitaxel and docetaxel through that process, the company said in a news release, and can meet more than one-third of the global demand for these drugs.

Dorman bought Phyton in 2002. Originally, paclitaxel was made from the bark of the yew tree, and it took about three trees to make enough of the drug to treat a single patient. Dorman told the Business Press last year that scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, found a way to take cells from a yew tree and cultivate them in a laboratory and then cryopreserve them.

“You take them out and thaw them, then you put them in a reactor and do the fermentation. You don’t have to sacrifice any more trees,” Dorman said in that interview.

Phyton Biotech is what is called a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) that serves other pharmaceutical companies on a contract basis to provide services from drug development through manufacturing.

“As Phyton Biotech continues to build its business and broaden its offerings to better serve its global customers, we needed to bring its international operations together under a single point of leadership,” Doman said in the news release. “We are confident that Colin’s extensive experience as a veteran biotechnology executive and his vision will be tremendous assets to Phyton Biotech and that under his leadership, the company will continue to be a growing and successful CDMO enterprise.”

The company said that over the last 25 years, it has been at the forefront of innovation in biotechnology through its plant cell fermentation technology solution, called PCF, a registered trademark.

Phyton Biotech has been expanding beyond the production of taxanes – drugs that fight cancer by blocking cell growth by stopping cell division – into the commercial development and manufacture of other valuable plant-derived compounds, the company said.

The news release said that the company will continue to prioritize its high-value active pharmaceutical ingredient business, but under Marr’s leadership it will concentrate on strengthening its role as a top CDMO to its global clients in the pharmaceutical, Traditional Chinese Medicine, cosmetic, agricultural and food ingredient industries, and on identifying partnership opportunities that support the company’s growth.

“It is a real honor to be named president of such an innovative and globally-leading company,” Marr said in the news release. “In my time with Phyton Biotech to date, our highly skilled and dedicated team has built upon our unique and vast capabilities, powerful technology and highly specialized expertise to create state-of-the-art solutions for complex and game-changing plant cell development projects, such as our recent $400,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to revolutionize the production of artemisinin, a critical ingredient in the global treatment of malaria.”

Phyton Biotech has certified “Good Manufacturing Practice” pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in both Germany and Canada and employs approximately 100 people.

For more information: phytonbiotech.com.

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Paul Harral
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.

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