Medicago successfully expresses VLP antigen for A H1N1 strain

    QUEBEC CITY, May 12 /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 successfully expressed a new VLP antigen ("H1
VLP") from the influenza A (H1N1) strain that caused the recent Influenza
outbreak in North America and other countries. The antigen was expressed
within 14 days of receiving the DNA sequence with the Company's VLP vaccine
technology and Proficia(TM) manufacturing technology.
    Initial results show that the new H1 VLP is comparable to other VLPs
recently expressed by Medicago such as the New Caledonia strain (H1N1) and
Brisbane strain (H1N1). The primary goal of this initiative was to confirm, in
a real case-scenario, Medicago's initial development timelines. Medicago
requires the genetic sequence of the virus, limiting delays that may happen
with traditional systems. The H1 VLP will be purified in preparation for an
immunogenicity study in mice. The Company expects results from this study in
June, with the goal of confirming the immunogenic potential of this H1 VLP.
    "We are thrilled with these initial results. They demonstrate that we can
rapidly express an antigen from a new influenza strain without modifying our
current technology and could potentially be a first responder solution in the
face of a pandemic," said Louis-Philippe Vezina, Chief Scientific Officer of
Medicago. "Our ultimate goal is to provide a rapid approach to vaccine
production allowing for immediate access to the antigens of emerging influenza
strains. Current influenza vaccine manufacturing technologies can take up to
six months to produce a vaccine for a new strain. With our proprietary
technology we believe we can potentially cut development time up to five

    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

    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

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