Medicago awarded $1.77 million in funding from Quebec's Consortium for Drug Discovery



    QUEBEC CITY, June 8 /CNW/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX-V: MDG), a biotechnology
company focused on developing highly effective and affordable vaccines based
on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs),
today announced that it has been awarded $1.77 million in funding by Quebec's
Consortium for Drug Discovery ("CQDM"), conditional upon the signing of a
research agreement between parties. Medicago will use these funds to develop
the VLPExpress, a high throughput platform that will accelerate the Company's
discovery and development of new vaccines by rapidly expressing, purifying and
testing candidate VLPs. This multidisciplinary project will be carried out in
collaboration with SNC-Lavalin Pharma, a division of SNC-Lavalin, Dr. Alain
Garnier from Laval University and Dr. Brian Ward from McGill University.
    "We are pleased to have been selected by the CQDM for this funding which
launches the next phase in the development of our VLP vaccine technology and
will ultimately allow us to expand our product pipeline," said Andy Sheldon,
President and Chief Executive Officer of Medicago. "VLPs represent one of the
most promising approaches for the production of vaccines. There is a need for
new cost-effective technological solutions to speed-up and streamline the
development of VLP vaccines from early research to clinical testing. By
scaling down and automating our current manufacturing system, this new
VLPExpress platform will reduce the time and costs of screening antigens and
allow us to identify the best candidates to bring forward."
    Medicago's VLPExpress platform will identify the best VLP-based antigen
presentations for a disease-causing agent within 10 weeks. Each antigen or
antigen variants will be rapidly screened for their potential to provide
protection. The Company will use a scaled-down transient technology which will
offer a rapid and low-cost production system with the capacity to accelerate
development of new vaccines. In addition, the use of VLPs for antigen surface
display will allow for the full exploitation of the immunogenic potential of
the best antigens. The combination of these technologies in the VLPExpress
platform will allow researchers to express numerous target proteins of a
pathogen to build a library of all possible VLPs in a short timeframe. The
best targets will then be characterized, produced and purified for further
analysis. By identifying the best antigens early in the process, researchers
can save years and millions of dollars in research costs.

    About CQDM

    CQDM is a not-for-profit organization that responds to the needs of the
pharmaceutical industry by contributing to accelerating drug discovery and
developing safer, more effective drugs. CQDM's funding is provided by the
FRSQ, the MDEIE, the BL-NCE, Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca Canada and Merck
Frosst Canada Ltd.
    For more information, visit: www.cqdm.org

    About Medicago

    Medicago is committed to provide highly effective and affordable vaccines
based on proprietary Virus-Like Particle (VLP) and manufacturing technologies.
Medicago is developing VLP vaccines to protect against H5N1 pandemic
influenza, using a transient expression system which produces recombinant
vaccine antigens in non-transgenic plants. This technology has potential to
offer advantages of speed and cost over competitive technologies. It could
deliver a vaccine for testing in about a 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 strikes and to supply large volumes of vaccine
antigens to the world market. Additional information about Medicago is
available at www.medicago.com.

    Forward Looking Statements

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

    
    Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as
    that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts
    responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release
    

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For further information:

For further information: Medicago, Inc.: Andy Sheldon, President and
CEO, (418) 658-9393; Medicago Inc., Arianna Vanin, Director, Investor
Relations, (514) 796-3993

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