APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE, DISTRIBUTION UNLIMITED
RALEIGH AND QUEBEC CITY, March 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - 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 second milestone payment of US$3.8 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ("DARPA"). This is part of the US$21M DARPA grant awarded to Medicago to demonstrate the scalable manufacturing of its plant-expressed VLP vaccines in the U.S.A. under a Technology Investment Agreement. Medicago has received US$10.7 million to date for this project.
"The ability to build a state-of-the-art vaccine facility in just one year requires a great technology, solving novel engineering problems, and a solid team," said Mike Wanner, Vice President U.S. Operations of Medicago USA. "We have met all milestones to date and our U.S. vaccine facility is projected to be operational during the second half of 2011."
On August 2010, Medicago received a US$21M grant from DARPA to develop a 90,000-square-foot cGMP facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, which is currently under construction. This state of-the-art facility will be a large, cost-effective and scaled-up facility for Medicago's VLP plant-based vaccine technology for the delivery of 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 biotechnology company, developing effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary Virus-Like Particles (VLP) and manufacturing technologies. Medicago is developing VLP vaccines to protect against pandemic and seasonal 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 the genetic sequence. 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 24, 2010 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.
SOURCE Medicago Inc.