- The H7 VLP vaccine candidate induces an antibody response after a
single dose in mice-
QUEBEC CITY, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG; OTCQX:
MDCGF), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly
effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing
technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today reported positive
interim results from a preclinical trial for an H7N9 Avian Influenza
VLP vaccine candidate ("H7 vaccine"). The data show that three
micrograms of the H7 vaccine administered with and without adjuvant
induced high antibody titers after one dose.
"These results are very significant as there is a general concern that
H7 vaccines will be of low immunogenicity in humans should a pandemic
be declared. However, our results indicate that our plant-based H7
vaccine is able to generate a high immune response in animal models.
To our knowledge, this is the first report of preclinical results for
an H7 vaccine developed for the recent H7N9 virus, further
demonstrating that Medicago is well positioned to be a first responder
in the face of a pandemic," said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of
"This is an important first step in our H7N9 program. Previous H7N3 and
H7N1 avian vaccines derived from eggs have been tested in humans
without achieving significant antibody levels even at doses as high as
2x90 micrograms or 2x24 micrograms mixed with alum. Previous vaccines
from other technologies also induced very low antibody levels in the
mouse model, whereas Medicago's results indicate that our H7 vaccine
developed for the emerging H7N9 strain elicits a solid antibody
response in mice after a single dose," said Nathalie Landry,
Vice-President of Product Development at Medicago. "Results from
challenge studies will be available in the coming month."
The plant-made H7N9 vaccine was developed for the H7N9 virus that is
responsible for the recent influenza outbreak in China that killed 37
of the 133 reported cases as of May 29, 2013. The first vaccine lots
were available at Medicago on May 9th only 19 days after Medicago had
received the DNA gene from the DNA sequence in GISAID EpiFlu Database.
This emerging H7N9 strain causes a lot of concerns to the vaccine
community as it is rapidly evolving being a very few mutations away of
being fully transmissible to humans. Moreover, it has been shown to be
transmissible between ferrets under certain conditions. Contrary to
highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses, this H7N9 virus does not kill the bird
population limiting the ability to control the source of infection.
The hemagglutinin (HA) sequence used for the development of the H7 VLP
vaccine was obtained from the GISAID EpiFlu Database. Medicago would
like to thank Dr. Jun Li and the Hangzhou Center for Disease Control
and Prevention (China), respectively author and originating and
submitting laboratory for the sequence of HA of the isolate
A/Hangzhou/1/2013 (sequence ID EPI_ISL_138977).
The H7N9 vaccine contains the adjuvant component, GLA (glucopyranosyl
lipid A). This is a novel synthetic TLR4 agonist that is supplied by
Immune Design Corp. GLA has been shown in multiple pre-clinical studies
and in over 700 human subjects to be a safe and potent activator of
humoral and cellular Th1 immune responses. In clinical trials it has
been shown to be immunogenic, provide dose sparing features, and cross
protection against drifted influenza strains.
Medicago is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel
vaccines and therapeutic proteins to address a broad range of
infectious diseases worldwide. The Company is committed to providing
highly effective and competitive vaccines and therapeutic proteins
based on its proprietary VLP and manufacturing technologies. Medicago
is a worldwide leader in the development of VLP vaccines using a
transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens
in plants. This technology has potential to offer more potent vaccines
with speed and cost advantages over competitive technologies, enabling
the development of a vaccine for testing in approximately one 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, and
supply large volumes of vaccine antigens to the world market. Medicago
also intends to expand development into other areas such as biosimilars
and biodefense products where the benefits of our technologies can make
a significant difference. Additional information about Medicago is
available at www.medicago.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release includes certain forward-looking statements or
forward-looking information for the purposes of applicable securities
laws and such statements and information 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 "Risk Factors and Uncertainties" in Medicago's
Annual Information Form filed on March 28, 2013, 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.