Potential Impacts of Pharmaceutical Uses of Transgenic Tobacco: The Case of Human Serum Albumin and Gaucher's Disease Treatment

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Virginia Tech


This thesis examines the size and distribution of benefits from the use of transgenic tobacco as a production vehicle for pharmaceutical proteins. Ex-ante welfare benefits are estimated for the introduction of two biotech innovations. In both cases economic surplus model with imperfect competition is employed to assess the size and distribution of benefits from these alternative uses of tobacco. An introductory chapter presents an overview of the topic followed by chapters 2 and 3 which contain the two case studies.

The first paper (chapter 2) examines the case of Human Serum Albumin production from transgenic tobacco. The second paper (chapter 3) examines the case of Glucocerebrosidase Enzyme from transgenic tobacco. Results demonstrate that new products from bio-pharming applications stand to generate significant social benefits. The introduction of Human Serum Albumin generates average annual gains of $46 million and the introduction of Glucocerebrosidase Enzyme generates average annual gains of $500 to $600 million.



Pharmaceutical uses of tobacco, economic surplus, imperfect competition