Medicago begins early-stage single-dose flu vaccine trial

Medicago Inc. in association with the Infectious Disease Research Institute, will start participation in an early-stage clinical trial of a single-dose vaccine to be used in case of an avian pandemic flu outbreak.

The trial combines Medicago's plant-made virus-like particle vaccine with the vaccine adjuvant technology developed by the institute to create the one-step vaccine.

Medicago produces vaccines for pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines from plants like tobacco leaves and uses proprietary technology to produce particles resembling a virus that are non-infectious and cannot replicate.

In late December, Medicago announced the final dose of their Phase II human clinical trial for an H5N1 vaccine based on the VLP technology. The vaccine was found to be safe and well-tolerated. In January, it published a scientific report on its Phase I clinical trial.

"This is the first time a scientific report on a clinical trial for a plant-based influenza VLP vaccine in humans is published in a peer-reviewed journal," Louis Vezina, chief scientific officer for Medicago, said. "It is a great accomplishment and demonstrates our leadership in the development of new, affordable and rapid approaches to the production of vaccines. Looking ahead, we are in good position to present Phase II clinical trial data for our H5N1 VLP vaccine candidate later this month which we believe will further validate our rapid and cost-effective VLP vaccine technology offering."

The Infectious Disease Research Institute was recently awarded a multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to create an avian influenza vaccine.