QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 21, 2009) - Medicago Inc. (TSX VENTURE: MDG), a biotechnology company focused on developing highly effective and affordable vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLP), and Genopole® biopark (Evry, France), today announced that they have signed a partnership agreement with a plan to build a commercial facility to manufacture pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines in France. Medicago and Genopole® believe that this facility could complement France's existing domestic influenza vaccine production infrastructure by offering surge capacity of influenza vaccines before the first wave of a pandemic strikes. This agreement builds on the feasibility study announced in July 2008 which was successfully completed this year to evaluate the economic and technological viability of a novel vaccine production facility in France.
Genopole® and Medicago will work together to establish a commercial-scale facility based on Medicago's Proficia™ plant-based manufacturing technology and VLP vaccine technology on Genopole®'s site in Evry, France. The new facility would initially produce pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines, and in the long-term could be used for a broad range of vaccines and other biodefense related products. Construction of the facility is conditional upon Medicago's successful completion of a Phase I clinical trial with its H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine and a reasonable level of commitment by the French authorities to support this novel technology.
"We are proud to be working with Genopole to contribute towards the strengthening of France's health infrastructure," said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. "This agreement is in line with our strategy to export our rapid and cost-effective solution for the manufacturing of influenza vaccines to enable countries worldwide to produce their own vaccines, within their own borders."
"We are delighted to be working with Medicago and their innovative non-transgenic, plant-based manufacturing technology which has great promise for the development of vaccines," said Pierre Tambourin, Director of Genopole. "This new facility will support our biopark's leadership in innovation and bioproduction by offering unique manufacturing capabilities to France and Europe."
About Genopole d'Evry
Genopole® is the leading French science park dedicated to life sciences. Its campus - near Paris - combines academic and private research laboratories, university/higher education facilities, biotechnology companies, and an incubator for biotech start-ups. Genopole® proposes the key benefits of a rich and well-equipped environment: a high-level, multidisciplinary research cluster in genomics and related sciences, a prosperous industrial fabric and cutting-edge, shared-access infrastructure. Genopole®'s priority is to promote therapy-focused biotech by providing optimal conditions for company growth and progress in research, the development of large-scale biological activities and to make France a major competitor in the world of science and industry.
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.
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