New VLP vaccine candidate produced for H7N9 virus

-Medicago Ready to Collaborate with Authorities to Further Study the Potential of this Vaccine to Protect Against H7N9-

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 announced that it has successfully produced a new VLP vaccine candidate for the H7N9 virus that is responsible for the current influenza outbreak in China.

"To our knowledge, Medicago is the first to produce a VLP vaccine candidate against this potential pandemic strain demonstrating our  ability to be a first responder in a pandemic scenario," said Andy Sheldon , President and CEO of Medicago. "Current influenza egg based vaccine manufacturers can take up to six months to produce a vaccine for any new strain, we have proven once again that we can cut this development time drastically.This combined with our vaccine production capacity at our pilot facility in Canada and our commercial facility in North Carolina and our best-in-class efficacy results for our H5N1 vaccine, strongly positions Medicago as a key player in addressing a potential  pandemic."

In order to produce an influenza vaccine, Medicago only requires the genetic sequence of the viral strain, dramatically limiting the delays that occur using traditional manufacturing systems. Medicago's H7 VLP is  currently being purified in preparation for immunogenicity studies in animal models.

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). 

To date, a total of 130 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with the new avian influenza A (H7N9) virus, including 31 deaths, have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). Contacts of the confirmed cases are being closely monitored.

Medicago's pipeline includes:

  • Phase II pandemic readiness clinical trial for H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine with interim data expected in summer 2013;
  • Medicago is developing a Rotavirus vaccine with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma under a strategic alliance that will include two additional vaccine candidates
  • The initiation of a U.S. Phase IIa clinical trial for a quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccine with interim data expected in summer of 2013;
  • GMP process development for a rabies vaccine are ongoing; ;
  • In addition to vaccines, Medicago is conducting research and development in the area of biosimilar products.

Medicago Inc.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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