The Major Advances Made By Medicago
As a pioneer of plant-based transient expression and manufacturing, Medicago has always sought a more effective way to improve human health. With nearly 20 years of experience and wisdom behind it, this Québec City-based company is ready to disrupt the traditional approach to vaccines and therapeutics.
Medicago’s origins date back to 1997, following licensing of a protein production technology on alfalfa (medicago in Latin) from Agriculture Canada and the Université Laval.
Between 2003 and 2005, it was able to adapt its business model and technologies to become a pharmaceutical biotechnology company focused on vaccine and therapeutic protein production. Its plant-based production platform has since allowed it to make significant advances in the following areas:
- In 2009, the company produced an animal-grade H1N1 vaccine candidate in only 19 days.
- In 2011, Medicago produced 10 million doses of a monovalent vaccine within a month for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is part of the United States Department of Defense.
- In 2015, the company also proved that it could quickly produce a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies to fight Ebola, a mandate received from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
- In early March of 2020, Medicago produced virus-like particles of the coronavirus within only 20 days of obtaining the gene responsible for COVID-19; it then quickly launched pre-clinical trials (for more information). Studies leading to the production of a vaccine are progressing quickly.
With financial support from Québec City, the province of Quebec, and the government of Canada, Medicago was able to initiate the construction of a $245 million facility to produce its future vaccines. The company is proud of its Quebec and Canadian roots and of its global reach (for more information).