QUEBEC CITY, Jan. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG; OTCQX: MDCGF), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today announced that it has been awarded an Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) based on Medicago having met all the technical requirement standards for the contract. As a result of Medicago having met these requirements and standards, Medicago is now allowed to bid for the manufacture and delivery of certain tobacco-produced proteins, for which Medicago has already demonstrated a proven ability. Medicago intends to bid on these orders when solicitations are next issued by the U.S. government and may be awarded production contracts.
"This contract is important as Medicago is now listed as a company meeting all of DARPA's rigorous technical requirements," said Mike Wanner, Executive Vice President of Operations at Medicago. "This fits Medicago's revenue-generation model nicely as we can leverage our cost-effective commercial production facility in North Carolina to bid for production orders when they are issued by the U.S. government."
Medicago USA, Inc. was previously awarded a US$21 million non-dilutive Technology Investment Agreement with DARPA for a proof of concept demonstration to produce 10 million doses of a vaccine candidate in 30 days. The DARPA project was successfully completed in July of 2012, for which Medicago USA Inc. successfully completed every milestone including the production of more than 10 million doses of immunogenic vaccine in less than 30 calendar days as qualified by animal studies.
Medicago's pipeline includes:
- The initiation of a U.S. Phase IIa clinical trial for a quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccine with interim data expected in summer of 2013;
- a Phase I clinical trial for an H5N1 VLP vaccine with a new adjuvant that is ongoing in partnership with the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI). Interim data are expected in the first quarter of 2013;
- a new clinical trial of the H5N1 VLP vaccine designed to determine the lowest possible dose by two different administration routes (IM and ID) and combining the vaccine with a GLA adjuvant is planned to start in spring of 2013, with interim data expected in summer of 2013;
- GMP process development and a GLP toxicology study for a rabies vaccine are ongoing;
- Medicago is also working with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma under a strategic alliance to develop a vaccine for rotavirus and at least two additional vaccine candidates;
- In addition to vaccines, Medicago is conducting research and development in the area of biosimilar products.
Medicago is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel vaccines and therapeutic proteins to address a broad range of infectious diseases worldwide. The Company is committed to providing highly effective and competitive vaccines and therapeutic proteins based on its proprietary VLP and manufacturing technologies. Medicago is a worldwide leader in the development of VLP vaccines using a transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens in plants. This technology has potential to offer more potent vaccines with speed and cost advantages over competitive technologies, enabling the development of a vaccine for testing in approximately one 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, and supply large volumes of vaccine antigens to the world market. Medicago also intends to expand development into other areas such as biosimilars and biodefense products where the benefits of our technologies can make a significant difference. Additional information about Medicago is available at www.medicago.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release includes certain forward-looking statements or forward-looking information for the purposes of applicable securities laws and such statements and information are based upon current expectations, which involve risks and uncertainties associated with Medicago's business and the environment in which the business operates. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking, including those identified by the expressions "anticipate", "believe", "plan", "estimate", "expect", "intend", and similar expressions to the extent they relate to Medicago or its management. The forward-looking statements are not historical facts, but reflect Medicago's current expectations regarding future results or events. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, including the matters discussed under "Risk Factors and Uncertainties" in Medicago's Annual Information Form filed on March 29, 2012, with the regulatory authorities. Medicago assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements.
SOURCE: Medicago Inc.
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