-Operations begin within eleven months of hosting groundbreaking ceremony-
RALEIGH, NC and Quebec City, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - 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 that it has commenced operations at its 97,000-square-foot plant-based vaccine facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina.
"Commencing operations at our state-of-the-art vaccine facility within a year of holding our groundbreaking ceremony is a remarkable accomplishment. Keeping a technology-transfer project of this magnitude on schedule is a testament to our science, our manufacturing platform and our team," said Mike Wanner, Vice President U.S. Operations of Medicago USA. The partial occupancy permit allows Medicago to begin seeding operations immediately with full occupancy expected at the end of October 2011.
"Earlier this summer we demonstrated that our plant-based VLP vaccine candidates have the potential of being among the most effective of the industry with our solid Phase II results," said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. "Our rapid development and effectiveness of our vaccine candidates combined with our proven ability to build a vaccine facility in less than a year at a lower cost than traditional technologies are compelling advantages to potential partners and government agencies."
Medicago previously signed a US$21M Technology Investment Agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a 90,000-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 committed to provide highly effective and competitive 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 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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SOURCE Medicago Inc.