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Vaccine developer plans $1.5M expansion to facilitate H5N1 clinical trials


Quebec City, QC – Medicago says it plans to invest $1.5 million to expand its manufacturing facility located in the Technology Park of Quebec City to optimize manufacturing activities and provide additional space to produce clinical grade material for human clinical trials. The investment includes the purchase of 100,000 sq ft of land adjacent to the current facility where the company intends to make further upgrades in the next three years.

“This investment reflects our commitment to advance our H5N1 pandemic vaccine candidate into human trials as quickly as possible,” said Andy Sheldon, president and CEO of Medicago. “Our current state-of-the-art cGMP facility meets all requirements for our Phase I trial, scheduled to commence in 2009, and with this expansion, we will be prepared for Phase II clinical studies.”

The facility expansion includes the addition of approximately 2,500 sq ft, a separate production site, additional storage and expanded purification production capacity to support increased cGMP production. Construction will start in January 2009 with completion targeted for the end of 2009. Medicago’s current facility is made up of 10,000 sq ft of Biosafety Level 2 greenhouse spaces for plant growth, as well as 3,000 sq ft of cGMP manufacturing sites for plant manipulation, product recovery and purification.

The company is developing virus-like particle and manufacturing technologies to protect against H5N1 pandemic influenza, using a transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens in non-transgenic plants. It says its technology has potential to offer advantages of speed and cost over other technologies.