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Medicago (Company)

Medicago (Company)

Medicago is a biopharmaceutical company founded in 1999, based in Quebec, Quebec, Canada, that uses plant-based manufacturing to develop vaccines and protein-based therapeutics. In 2013 became a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation.

Medico is a biopharmaceutical company manufacturing plat-based vaccines and therapeutics that is headquartered in Quebec City, Quebec and was founded in 1999. Medicago, established based on research at Agriculture Canada and Laval University, is named after the Latin word for alfalfa, the first plant the company worked on. Medicago is 40% owned by the cigarette company, Philip Morris, and 60% of Medicago’s shares were purchased by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma in 2013.

Medicago developed technology for producing vaccines, antibodies, protein-based products and therapeutic proteins inside plants, called Proficia. Medicago developed a modified version of the platform called VLP Express for drug discovery. Their system introduces recombinant DNA into the bacteria Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which are introduced into tobacco leaves where they infect surrounding cells and transfer the recombinant DNA, called transfer DNA (T-DNA) to the plant nucleus. Without integrating into the plant genome, the T-DNA is transcribed and translated, producing the encoded protein. After 11 days leaves are harvested and proteins are extracted and purified to produce clinical-grade pharmaceutical ingredients.

Medicago uses Nicotiana benthamiana, a tobacco species that naturally makes proteins at high speed. Whereas a vaccine produced using eggs is a six-month process, Medicago’s plant production cycle takes about six weeks. The plants produce virus-like particles that resemble the flu virus and are claimed to elicit an immune response against the flu. As of 2018 their flu vaccine was in phase 3 clinical trials.

Medicago USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and partnered with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has a manufacturing facility that produces vaccines for clinical studies.

Products

Medicago’s candidate products include H5N1 pandemic influenza VLP vaccine, seasonal influenza and H1N1 vaccines. Products in development include Rotavirus vaccine in alliance with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation and an Ebola prevention vaccine in collaboration with DARPA. Medicago’s seasonal recombinant quadrivalent VLP vaccine for influenza is under review by Health Canada and has completed a safety and efficacy clinical program with more than 25,000 patients.

COVID-19

Medicago is developing both a vaccine and potential treatment of COVID-19. The company produced a virus-like particle (VLP) of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which mimics the shape and dimensions of the virus so that the body can recognize and create an immune response. VLPs activate both arms of the immune system, the antibody and cell-mediated responses. After preclinical testing, clinical trials for the vaccine are expected in July or August 2020. Medicago is also developing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in collaboration with the Laval University Infectious Disease Research Centre, which could potentially be used to treat people already infected with the virus. Medicago has received $7 million from the Quebec provincial government for its COVID-19 vaccine development.

Funding
Grant

On March 1, 2010 Medicago received a research grant worth $300,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Venture round

On May 13, 2010 Medicago completed a venture capital funding round with $10 million in funding from Yorkville Advisors.

Private equity round

On September 27, 2011 Medicago completed a private equity round with $25 million in funding from Fonds De Solidarite FTQ, CTI Life Sciences Fund, and AgChecm Venture Fund.

Government support

On December 12, 2012 Medicago received $415,000 in financial support from the Quebec Government and Quebec City for Innovative Regional Project.

Timeline

1999
Medicago was founded.

Funding rounds

People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Bruce D. Clark Ph.D.

President, CEO & Director

Michael E. Wanner

CFO & U.S. Site Manager

Michael Schunk DVM, DVSc

Executive Vice-President of Operations

Nathalie Landry M.Sc., MBA

Vice-President of Product Development

Todd Talarico Ph.D.

Vice-President of Process Development

Further reading

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Documentaries, videos and podcasts

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Companies

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News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Joe Palca
June 6, 2021
@kmuw
A new kind of COVID-19 vaccine could be available as soon as this summer. It's what's known as a protein subunit vaccine. It works somewhat
Joe Palca
June 6, 2021
@/#!/hppr
A new kind of COVID-19 vaccine could be available as soon as this summer. It's what's known as a protein subunit vaccine. It works somewhat
Julia Kollewe
May 18, 2021
the Guardian
Announcement follows encouraging news from collaboration with French drugmaker Sanofi
Alex Keown
May 18, 2021
BioSpace
Medicago and GSK announced their positive interim data from a mid-range study of a plant-based vaccine for COVID-19.
BioSpace
May 18, 2021
BioSpace
Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Quebec City, and GlaxoSmithKline are pleased to report positive interim Phase 2 clinical trial safety and immunogenicity data for Medicago's plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which has been tested in combination with GSK's pandemic adjuvant.
Nick Paul
May 18, 2021
FierceBiotech
Medicago and GlaxoSmithKline have presented interim phase 2 data on their adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The results suggest the plant-derived jab CoVLP+AS03 is somewhat differentiated from other vaccines through the mixed cellular response it triggers.
Li Yuan
May 14, 2021
phys.org
Medicago ruthenica, a wild and perennial legume forage widely distributed in semi-arid grasslands, is distinguished by its outstanding tolerance to environmental stress. It is a close relative of commonly cultivated forage of alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Reuters
April 23, 2021
news.yahoo.com
Medicago is conducting a late-stage study of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine combined with a booster from GlaxoSmithKline. The company said it would...
Ben Adams
March 16, 2021
FierceBiotech
GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi tripped up in a recent COVID-19 vaccine test, but the U.K. Big Pharma is hoping for better luck with its second partner Medicago.
Andrew Dunn
February 5, 2021
Business Insider
The biotech company's top scientist said early results from the ongoing trial "look good" so far, with pivotal results likely coming in April or May.
Sharon Kirkey
November 10, 2020
nationalpost
The vaccine news sent hopes soaring, but scientists caution critical information is missing and warned of the perils of science by press release
Reuters
November 13, 2020
@bsindia
Canadas National Research Council providing a combined C$23.2 million in funding to six other early-stage projects
Ben Adams
November 12, 2020
FierceBiotech
After signing up to use GlaxoSmithKline's adjuvant vaccine technology back in the summer, Canadian biotech Medicago has already finished off a phase1, and is now kicking on with several phase 2/3 trials.
Reuters
November 12, 2020
news.yahoo.com
The news comes days after early-stage data showed Medicago's plant-based vaccine candidate produced virus-fighting antibodies in all volunteers. Medicago, backed by cigarette maker Philip Morris International, is Canada's most advanced COVID-19 vaccine project, but lags larger, global rivals
Alex Keown
November 12, 2020
BioSpace
Biopharma and life sciences companies from across the globe provide updates on their businesses and pipelines.
Staff
November 10, 2020
Global News
Medicago says the side effects were generally mild to moderate and short in duration.
Ben Adams
July 7, 2020
FierceBiotech
Hoping to broaden shots on target, GlaxoSmithKline is continuing its strategy of giving out access to its vaccine platform as it adds Medicago to its growing partners list.

References

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