RALEIGH, NC and QUEBEC CITY, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Medicago USA Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG), a biotechnology company focused on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today announced it has received the fourth milestone payment of US$3.56 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ("DARPA"). This is part of the potential US$21 million DARPA milestone awards to be earned by Medicago to demonstrate the scalable manufacturing of its plant-expressed VLP vaccines in the U.S.A. under a Technology Investment Agreement. Medicago has now received US$19.8 million to date for this project, with two milestones remaining.
"Continuing to successfully advance this technology-transfer project is a further demonstration of our robust science and manufacturing platform, and our strong North American team," said Mike Wanner, Vice President U.S. Operations of Medicago USA. "This milestone focused on completing documentation related to a phased commissioning approach to the cGMP facility and equipment, as well as results from recent engineering runs in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina. Our U.S. vaccine facility began operations in September 2011, and we continue to expect to complete the fifth and sixth milestones related to this project in the first half of 2012."
Medicago previously signed a US$21 million Technology Investment Agreement with DARPA to develop a 97,000-square-foot vaccine facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina. This state of-the-art facility is a large, cost-effective and scaled-up facility for Medicago's VLP plant-based vaccine technology, ultimately for the delivery of current good manufacturing practice (cGMP)-grade vaccine. Medicago intends to demonstrate its capacity to produce 10 million doses/month of influenza vaccines with the potential for further expansion in the future. This DARPA project is part of the Blue Angel influenza vaccine rapid response demonstration project which seeks to identify new ways to produce large amounts of high quality vaccine grade protein in less than 3 months in response to emerging and novel biologic threats.
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 that 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 "Risks Factors and Uncertainties" in Medicago's Annual Information Form filed on March 31, 2011 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.
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