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Medicago Awarded $21 million from the US Department of Defense
Medicago USA Inc. (Raleigh, NC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Medicago Inc. (Quebec City, Canada), a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and virus-like particles (VLPs), has been awarded a $21 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Broad Agency Announcement, Defense Sciences Research & Technology. Medicago USA received the grant to demonstrate the scalable manufacturing of its plant-expressed VLP vaccines in the US under a technology investment agreement.
The company will develop a 90,000-square-foot cGMP facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC. This will be a scaled-up facility for Medicago’s VLP plant–based vaccine technology for the delivery of cGMP-grade vaccine. Medicago will scale-up and automate its cGMP process to demonstrate its capacity to produce 10 million doses per month of influenza vaccines with the potential for further expansion in the future.
During the recent H1N1 influenza outbreak, Medicago was able to develop a vaccine candidate through its plant-based VLP vaccine technology in less than a month after the H1N1 strain was identified.
This DARPA project is an accelerated and integrated effort to deliver effective production of pandemic influenza in the US. Its Accelerated Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals program seeks to identify new ways to produce large amounts of vaccine protein in less than three months in response to emerging and novel biologic threats. The strategic collaboration is a $42 million project in which DARPA contributes $21 million, Medicago $7.5 million, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. $13.5 million.