QUEBEC CITY, April 28 /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 a genetic sequence of the new strain of
influenza A (H1N1) that has recently been identified in USA and Mexico, and
has commenced laboratory work with its VLP vaccine technology to produce
material for testing. According to the World Health Organization ("WHO"), a
genetic analysis shows this new flu strain is a never-before-seen mixture of
swine, human and avian viruses and has the potential of becoming a pandemic.
The Company has already expressed VLPs of the following pandemic strains in
plants: Singapore (H2N2), Anhui (H5N1), Vietnam (H5N1), Hong Kong (H6N1 and
H9N2), Equine/Prague (H7N7), and of the seasonal strains New Caledonia (H1N1),
Solomon Island (H1N1) and Brisbane (H1N1). Medicago is keeping health
authorities informed on its work.
Medicago's H5N1 pandemic VLP vaccine has shown to be immunogenic at doses
as low as 5 micrograms in preclinical studies and provided 100%
cross-protection to different strains of the H5N1 virus in an animal model.
The Company's proprietary plant-based manufacturing technology could deliver a
vaccine, just one month after the identification of the genetic sequence from
an emerging pandemic strain. This vaccine would then be tested in animals and
humans and reviewed by Health Canada before it is produced on a commercial
scale. Medicago recently had a pre-Clinical Trial Application ("CTA") meeting
with Health Canada's Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate ("BGTD").
Based on the outcome of the meeting, the Company is finalising pre-clinical
studies and preparing to move ahead with the submission of a CTA for its lead
H5N1 pandemic VLP vaccine and with final approval will initiate a Phase I
clinical trial in the third quarter of 2009.
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
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