Medicago successfully produces plant-based Rotavirus VLP vaccine candidate
QUEBEC CITY, June 20, 2013
-First successful plant-based Rotavirus VLP containing all 4 Major proteins-
-International Patent Application filed-
QUEBEC CITY, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG; OTCQX:
MDCGF), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly effective and
competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and
Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today announced the successful production of a
Rotavirus VLP vaccine candidate comprising all four structural antigens of
rotavirus (VP2, VP4, VP6 and VP7) using Medicago's plant-based manufacturing
Medicago also announced today that an international patent application under
the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) that broadly covers plant-produced
Rotavirus VLPs has been filed.
"This represents the first time a fully assembled Rotavirus VLP has been
produced in plants. The production of a plant-based Rotavirus VLP containing
four major structural proteins is groundbreaking and offers a potential
solution to the current efficacy and safety challenges faced with vaccines
produced with conventional technologies. This successfully completes the
first part of our collaboration with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation
(MTPC) towards the development of a Rotavirus vaccine candidate," said Andy
Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago.
"VP4 and VP7 proteins are necessary for the development of an efficacious
rotavirus vaccine and their successful incorporation into Rotavirus VLPs
demonstrate the efficacy of our platform," said Marc-André D'Aoust, Senior
Director of Research and Innovation at Medicago. "We look forward to
continuing the development of our Rotavirus vaccine candidate and will conduct
an immunogenicity and efficacy study in animals shortly."
Under this first agreement to develop a Rotavirus VLP vaccine target, MTPC was
given the option to license the Rotavirus VLP vaccine target and assume global
development, regulatory and commercialization responsibilities while Medicago
was assigned eligibility to receive up to a total of C$33 million in upfront
and milestone payments as well as royalties on future sales of the Rotavirus
VLP product. Medicago received an upfront payment of C$3 million to begin the
initial research on rotavirus.
Medicago's Master Research Collaboration Agreement with MTPC, announced in
March 2012, was established to develop and commercialize at least three new
vaccines with MTPC, who are providing funding for all research and development
and commercialization costs. In exchange for granting licensing rights,
Medicago is entitled to receive upfront and milestone payments as well as
royalties for each product to be developed under this master agreement.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young
children globally. The worldwide incidence of rotavirus is estimated at 125
million cases each year, and is responsible for more than 500,000 deaths
annually. More than 85 percent of these deaths occur in Africa and Asia, and
over two million are hospitalized each year with pronounced dehydration.
Children under five years of age, especially those between six months and two
years, are most vulnerable to the disease. While vaccines against rotavirus
gastroenteritis are currently available and are the single prevention and
control measure with the most significant impact on reducing severe disease
incidence, economic barriers to access remain an issue in many developing
In addition to the development of its Rotavirus VLP vaccine, Medicago's
*a Phase II pandemic readiness clinical trial for its H5N1 pandemic
influenza vaccine with interim data expected in the second half of 2013.
*a U.S. Phase IIa clinical trial for a quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccine
with interim data expected in in the second half of 2013.
*the company is conducting ongoing GMP process development for a rabies
vaccine, and research and development in the area of biosimilar products.
Medicago is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel
vaccines and therapeutic proteins to address a broad range of infectious
diseases worldwide. The Company is committed to providing highly effective and
competitive vaccines and therapeutic proteins based on its proprietary VLP and
manufacturing technologies. Medicago is a worldwide leader in the development
of VLP vaccines using a transient expression system which produces recombinant
vaccine antigens in plants. This technology has potential to offer more potent
vaccines with speed and cost advantages over competitive technologies,
enabling the development of a vaccine for testing in approximately one month
after the identification and reception of genetic sequences from a pandemic
strain. This production time frame has the potential to allow vaccination of
the population before the first wave of a pandemic, and supply large volumes
of vaccine antigens to the world market. Medicago also intends to expand
development into other areas such as biosimilars and biodefense products where
the benefits of our technologies can make a significant difference. Additional
information about Medicago is available at www.medicago.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release includes certain forward-looking statements or
forward-looking information for the purposes of applicable securities laws and
such statements and information are based upon current expectations, which
involve risks and uncertainties associated with Medicago's business and the
environment in which the business operates. Any statements contained herein
that are not statements of historical facts may be deemed to be
forward-looking, including those identified by the expressions "anticipate",
"believe", "plan", "estimate", "expect", "intend", and similar expressions to
the extent they relate to Medicago or its management. The forward-looking
statements are not historical facts, but reflect Medicago's current
expectations regarding future results or events. These forward-looking
statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause
actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations,
including the matters discussed under "Risk Factors and Uncertainties" in
Medicago's Annual Information Form filed on March 28, 2013, with the
regulatory authorities. Medicago assumes no obligation to update the
forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could
differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Medicago Inc.
President and CEO
(418) 658-9393 ext.156
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