QUEBEC CITY--Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG; OCTQX: MDCGF), a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of highly effective and competitive vaccines using proprietary manufacturing technologies and virus-like particles (VLPs), and Folia Biotech, a private biotechnology firm that focuses on vaccine enhancement using plant virus recombinant protein (papaya mosaic virus) as an adjuvant, announce the receipt of $415,000 in financial support from the Quebec government and the municipality of Quebec City to fund a feasibility study for a unique biopharmaceutical production project, known as BioProduction21, part of the Quebec Region's Life Science ACCORD Cluster.
Medicago and Folia will invest a total of $255,000 in the first part of this initiative, worth approximately $670,000 in total, which is intended to assess the feasibility of developing a globally recognized, high-value-added bioproduction cluster of excellence. Québec International will act as a support organization, mandated to manage the financial assistance.
The Quebec City area, which stands at the forefront of the vaccine and biotechnology industry, is a fertile setting for scientists, leaders and innovative companies working to carve an enviable position in a high-growth market. The world vaccine market alone is expected to reach US$30 billion in 2013. Development of this bioproduction cluster of excellence, coupled with the existing synergy among various companies, will sustain the reputation of Quebec's vaccine industry. In concrete terms, product manufacturing and marketing as well as the eventual installation of state-of-the-art industrial infrastructure will reflect the leadership position of Quebec and the National Capital region on the vaccines market.
While the project will initially focus on vaccine development and bioproduction, it could subsequently be applied to the production of other treatments that use recombinant proteins and peptides. Through the use of the Medicago and Folia platforms and via future collaborations with key players in the life sciences field, this cluster of excellence will be positioned to support regional companies by providing them access to unique platforms and technologies. Medicago and Folia also intend to offer their services to various organizations throughout the province and elsewhere in Canada. The cluster will enable the development of valuable competencies that are expected to garner a significant competitive edge and international standing.
"We are pleased to see the Quebec government and the municipality of Quebec City participate in this initiative, which is part of Medicago's local expansion plan," declared Andy Sheldon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Medicago. "Our company intends to deploy the knowledge gained from our French and U.S. collaborations to establish this type of joint endeavor for the benefit of this region."
"For Folia, this undertaking represents an excellent opportunity to collaborate in developing and setting up a bioproduction centre of excellence in Quebec City," stated Jacques Bernier, Chief Executive Officer of Folia, "while at the same time enabling us to demonstrate the effectiveness of our adjuvant platform and its potential for improving our partners' vaccines."
Medicago is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel vaccines and therapeutic proteins to address a broad range of infectious diseases worldwide. The Company is committed to providing highly effective and competitive vaccines and therapeutic proteins based on its proprietary VLP and manufacturing technologies. Medicago is a worldwide leader in the development of VLP vaccines using a transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens in plants. This technology has potential to offer more potent vaccines with speed and cost advantages over competitive technologies, enabling the development of a vaccine for testing in approximately one month after the identification and reception of genetic sequences from a pandemic strain. This production time frame has the potential to allow vaccination of the population before the first wave of a pandemic, and supply large volumes of vaccine antigens to the world market. Medicago also intends to expand development into other areas such as biosimilars and biodefense products where the benefits of our technologies can make a significant difference. Additional information about Medicago is available at www.medicago.com.
FOLIA BIOTECH is a biotechnology company founded by Dr. Denis Leclerc, a researcher at the Infectious Disease Research Centre in Quebec City. PAL technology, the product of Dr. Leclerc's work, is based on the use of a plant virus recombinant protein (papaya mosaic virus) as an adjuvant in order to increase the immune response targeting the vaccine's constituent antigen(s). PAL is also a versatile vaccination platform that enables the development of innovative vaccines for any infectious disease.www.foliabiotech.com