Medicago, McGill University receive grant to research VLPs

QUEBEC — Medicago Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing vaccines, and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre have been awarded a $288,000 research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study plant-made virus-like particles with a focus on immune response induced.

"We believe our VLP vaccines will be the preferred option to increase the speed of a public health response in the event of a pandemic outbreak as our VLP plant-based manufacturing process is very efficient with a relatively low capital cost," said Andy Sheldon, president and CEO of Medicago.

Brian Ward, co-director of the MUHC Vaccine Evaluation Centre, said, "VLPs are among the most promising technologies to produce the next generation of vaccines. The technical simplicity and low cost of VLP production in plants add great value to this delivery system as it is the first platform technology with a realistic potential to address the needs of the developing world for low cost vaccines."

Medicago recently reported positive interim results from a Phase I human clinical trial with its H5N1 avian influenza vaccine candidate. Full results of the Phase I trial will be submitted for publication in a scientific journal and will be available in the coming months.