Medicago’s Pandemic Flu Vaccine Provides 100% Protection in Mice at Low Doses
- Category: Vaccines
- Published on Wednesday, 23 January 2008 13:16
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Medicago Inc. today announced that low doses of the Company’s H5N1 Avian Influenza VLP vaccine provided 100% protection in mice against a lethal challenge of live H5N1 viruses
QUEBEC CITY, Quebec | January 22, 2008 | Medicago Inc. (TSX-V: MDG) today announced that low doses of the Company’s H5N1 Avian Influenza VLP vaccine (“H5N1 VLP vaccine”) provided 100% protection in mice against a lethal challenge of live H5N1 viruses. In addition, this preclinical study demonstrated that Medicago’s vaccine has the ability to recognize and kill an H5N1 strain that is different from the one used to design the vaccine.
The study was conducted in Lyon, France at the P4 Laboratory Jean Mérieux - Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (“INSERM”), a unique, high security research centre for studying highly pathogenic viruses. In this study, mice were vaccinated with a range of doses of the Company's VLP vaccine made from an Indonesian strain of H5N1 Avian Influenza. The mice were then challenged with a different live H5N1 strain from Turkey. Results demonstrated that mice vaccinated with Medicago’s H5N1 VLP vaccine were fully protected from illness and subsequent death even at the low dose of 0.5 microgram. During the experiment, 100% of the vaccinated mice survived, while 60% of the control group died. The study was performed in collaboration with Dr Hervé Raoul, Director of the P4 Laboratory Jean Mérieux-INSERM, Dr. Vincent Lotteau, Immunologist at INSERM, Professor Bruno Lina from Lyon University and Dr. Eric Quéméneur, Head of Biochemistry and Nuclear Toxicology at the French Atomic Energy Commission.
“I’m very pleased with these results and I take great pride in what our team and our collaborators have been able to accomplish," said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO. “The successful completion of this first lethal challenge study is an important step in moving our H5N1 VLP vaccine towards human clinical studies. Results from this preclinical study will be included in a clinical trial application currently targeted for the fourth quarter of 2008 and human trials are expected to commence following clearance by Health Canada."
“A major hurdle with development of pandemic flu vaccines has been the mutation of the H5N1 virus over time. As a result, cross-protection, rapid development and production are key components in the successful development of these vaccines,” said Nathalie Landry, Medicago’s Vice President Product Development. “This is the first demonstration that our VLP vaccine can protect against infection with a live deadly virus and provide cross-protection among different strains of H5N1 in circulation. These results further demonstrate the potential of our manufacturing technology and vaccine in addressing a significant global health problem.”
"Our facility is amongst the few worldwide that is able to offer high levels of containment and safety measures, necessary for the study of lethal pathogens," said Dr. Hervé Raoul, Director of Laboratoire P4 Jean Mérieux-INSERM. "The use of VLPs produced in plants as vaccines for humans is an interesting avenue to approach pandemic influenza challenges. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Medicago on this project."
About Medicago Inc.
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 the cells of nontransgenic 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
This press release contains forward-looking statements which reflect the Company's current expectations regarding future events. The forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those projected herein. The Company disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
SOURCE: Medicago Inc.