- Cross-protection established against deadly Vietnam strain -
QUEBEC CITY, March 19 /CNW/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX-V: MDG) today announced
that its H5N1 Avian Influenza VLP vaccine ("H5N1 VLP vaccine"), made from the
Indonesian strain, provided 100% protection in mice against a lethal challenge
with live H5N1 viruses of the Vietnam strain. Including these results, the
Company has now established that its lead H5N1 VLP vaccine has the potential
to protect against three of the deadliest strains of pandemic influenza. In
earlier studies, the Company demonstrated that its vaccine provides 100%
cross-protection in mice against an influenza strain from Turkey.
"These preclinical results represent in our opinion a significant
breakthrough in the development of our pandemic influenza vaccine," said Andy
Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. "An influenza vaccine that provides
cross-protection against multiple strains is important for addressing a
pandemic threat as it enhances chances of broader spectrum coverage."
In this study, mice were vaccinated with a range of doses of the
Company's VLP vaccine made from an Indonesian strain of H5N1 Avian Influenza.
During the experiment, 100% of the vaccinated mice survived, while 100% of the
control group died. The mice were challenged 80 days after vaccination with a
live H5N1 strain from Vietnam. Results showed that mice vaccinated with
Medicago's H5N1 VLP vaccine were fully protected from illness and subsequent
death even at the low dose of 0.5 microgram.
"We believe these results significantly enhance the value of our H5N1 VLP
vaccine. We expect to initiate studies in ferrets in the coming weeks and look
forward to taking this new vaccine candidate into clinic trials in early
2009," said Nathalie Landry, Medicago's VP Product Development.
The study was conducted in Lyon, France at the P4 Laboratory Jean Mérieux
- Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale ("INSERM"), a
unique, high security research centre for studying highly pathogenic viruses.
The study was performed in collaboration with Dr Hervé Raoul, Director of the
P4 Laboratory Jean Mérieux-INSERM, Dr. Vincent Lotteau, Immunologist at
INSERM, Professor Bruno Lina from Lyon University and Dr. Eric Quéméneur, Head
of Biochemistry and Nuclear Toxicology at the French Atomic Energy Commission.
About Medicago Inc.
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
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
For further information:
For further information: Medicago Inc., Andy Sheldon, President and CEO,
(418) 658-9393; The Equicom Group Inc., Arianna Vanin, Investor Relations,
(514) 844-4680, firstname.lastname@example.org