Medicago announces technological milestone with production of self-assembled Influenza Virus-Like Particles in plants



    QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 18 /CNW/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX-V: MDG), today announced
it has made a significant breakthrough by using its proprietary expression
system to produce a vaccine candidate for H5N1 Avian Influenza in highly
immunogenic particles called Virus-Like Particles ("VLPs"). VLPs have
significant advantages over conventional vaccines as they are known to enhance
immunity and therefore increase protection against disease. These particles
are similar to the virus from which they were derived from; however they lack
viral nucleic acid, which results in the best compromise between safety (not
infectious) and efficacy (highly immunogenic).
    "Our transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine
antigens in the cells of non-transgenic plants has demonstrated its efficiency
and medical potential by successfully producing the H5N1 Avian Influenza
vaccine candidate in VLPs," said Dr. Louis Vezina, Chief Scientific Officer of
Medicago.
    "This is an excellent result and a major milestone for Medicago," said
Andy Sheldon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Medicago. "VLPs offer a
promising avenue for the development of effective vaccines for diseases such
as the constantly evolving H5N1 Avian Influenza. Our unique ability to rapidly
deliver vaccines that can protect against the multiple variations of viruses
will, in our opinion, give our technology a critical advantage over
traditional egg-based and cell culture technologies. Using our proprietary
plant-based technology, we believe we now have the ability to deliver a VLP
vaccine for testing a month after the identification and reception of genetic
sequences from the pandemic strain."
    Medicago has initiated preclinical studies with its proprietary VLP
against H5N1 Avian Influenza virus and is now accumulating data. It is
expected results from this first study will be published in the coming weeks.

    About Medicago

    Medicago is a biotechnology company focused on the development,
production and commercialization of vaccines and therapeutic protein-based
biopharmaceuticals using a proprietary manufacturing system developed from its
expertise in the genetic engineering of plants. Medicago's Proficia technology
offers speed, flexibility and cost advantages that can greatly improve the
accessibility of today's emerging vaccines and biopharmaceuticals for both
partners and patients. The Company is developing its own proprietary pipeline
of vaccines and also has established collaboration agreements notably with
Acambis PLC (LSE: ACM, www.acambis.com) for the development of several
products.

    Forward Looking Statements

    This press release contains forward-looking statements which reflect the
Company's current expectations regarding future events. The forward-looking
statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ
materially from those projected herein. The Company disclaims any obligation
to update these forward-looking statements.

    The TSX Venture Exchange assumes no responsibility for the content or
    accuracy of this press release

    %SEDAR: 00023641EF




For further information:

For further information: Medicago, Inc., Andy Sheldon, President and
CEO, (418) 658-9393; Investor relations, The Equicom Group Inc., Eric
Bouchard, (514) 844-7997, ebouchard@equicomgroup.com

Organization Profile

Medicago Inc.

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