Medicago's H1N1 pandemic vaccine candidate shows positive response in 100% of vaccinated animals after a single dose

QUEBEC CITY, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- 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 achieved additional positive results with its vaccine candidate for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, also known as Swine flu. Results showed that a single dose of 5 micrograms induced a positive immune response against a new emerging strain of this virus in 100% of vaccinated animals.
 

Medicago's H1N1 VLP vaccine was formulated to protect against the influenza A/California/04/09 virus ("California/04"), which was one of the original viral strains selected by the WHO for vaccine manufacturers. The Company previously reported data from an initial study in mice where its novel vaccine achieved a positive immune response in 100% of the animals vaccinated against the California/04 virus. In a continuation of this study, Medicago tested the immune response of its H1N1 vaccine against the California/07 virus, a more current and mutated strain and showed positive immune response after a single dose of 5 micrograms. The challenge of current pandemic influenza vaccines is they have to match the circulating strain in order to be effective.
 

"We have already demonstrated the speed of our technology by producing an H1N1 vaccine candidate and initiating animal testing while other vaccine manufacturers were still waiting for a seed strain from the WHO. These additional data expand upon the results we announced in June and support our belief that our influenza vaccines are also capable of providing protection against different circulating viral strains," said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. "Unlike current vaccine manufacturers that have experienced difficulties producing a pandemic candidate for H1N1, our H1N1 vaccine candidate was well expressed in our plant-based system and has produced good yields."
 

Vaccine makers currently developing vaccine candidates for the pandemic swine flu using egg-based and cell culture technologies have advised the WHO that the influenza seed strain used to produce their new vaccine is not growing well and therefore giving poor antigen yields. The yield is approximately 25-50% of that vaccine makers typically get for seasonal flu vaccine production. The WHO recently made a new set of seed strains using new viral isolates, such as the California/07, in hopes of increasing the vaccine yield. Medicago's vaccine is produced using its VLP technology that does not require a virus and therefore does not rely on the ability of a viral strain to grow.
 

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
 

Source: Medicago Inc.

CONTACT: Medicago, Inc., Andy Sheldon, President and CEO, (418)
658-9393; Medicago Inc., Arianna Vanin, Director, Investor Relations, (514)
796-3993
 

Posted: July 2009

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