Medicago's vaccine candidate against novel influenza A (H1N1) virus immunogenic in mice



    QUEBEC CITY, June 30 /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 received positive results from an immunogenicity
study in mice with the Company's new vaccine candidate for the influenza A
(H1N1) virus, also known as swine flu. Results demonstrated that the Company's
H1 VLP vaccine induced a positive immune response in mice against the H1N1
influenza virus. Medicago produced the H1 VLP antigen within 14 days of
receiving the DNA sequence with its VLP vaccine technology and Proficia(TM)
manufacturing technology.
    "These results, coupled with the speed of production of this new vaccine
candidate, demonstrate that once approved, our plant-based VLP vaccine
technology could be an effective approach against pandemic influenza," said
Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. "With our lead H5N1 vaccine
candidate expected to commence human trials in the third quarter of this year,
we look forward to delivering additional encouraging results and further
confirming the potential of our proprietary technologies."
    "We are very pleased by these results given the very low sensitivity of
this strain which presents a challenge when measuring
Hemagglutination-inhibition antibody titers, required to demonstrate immune
reaction," said Nathalie Landry, VP Product Development of Medicago. "Further
in vitro assays will be performed with our H1 VLP vaccine in the near future
to confirm its capacity to neutralize live viruses."
    Medicago's swine flu vaccine candidate elicited the production of
hemagglutinin (HA)-inhibiting antibody in mice at levels that are generally
considered to be protective after two doses of 5 micrograms. The vaccine must
undergo clinical trials and receive all required approval by health
authorities before it could be made available commercially.

    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, vanina@medicago.com

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