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.
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
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,
658-9393; Medicago Inc., Arianna Vanin, Director, Investor Relations, (514)
Posted: July 2009