Medicago produces rotavirus VLP vaccine candidate

It comprises all four structural antigens of rotavirus using its plant-based manufacturing platform

Medicago, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company focused on developing vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), has successfully produced a rotavirus VLP vaccine candidate comprising all four structural antigens of rotavirus (VP2, VP4, VP6 and VP7) using its plant-based manufacturing platform.

Medicago has also filed an international patent application that broadly covers plant-produced rotavirus VLPs.

‘The production of a plant-based rotavirus VLP containing four major structural proteins is groundbreaking and offers a potential solution to the current efficacy and safety challenges faced with vaccines produced with conventional technologies,’ said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago.

The development successfully completes the first part of Medicago’s collaboration with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) towards the development of a rotavirus vaccine candidate.

Medicago will conduct an immunogenicity and efficacy study in animals shortly.

Under this first agreement to develop a rotavirus VLP vaccine target, MTPC was given the option to license the rotavirus VLP vaccine target and assume global development, regulatory and commercialisation responsibilities, while Medicago was eligible to receive up to C$33m in upfront and milestone payments as well as royalties on future sales. Medicago received an upfront payment of C$3m to begin the initial research.

Medicago’s Master Research Collaboration Agreement with MTPC, announced in March 2012, was established to develop and commercialise at least three new vaccines with MTPC, which is funding all research and development and commercialisation costs.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea in infants and young children globally. It is responsible for more than 500,000 deaths annually. More than 85% of these deaths occur in Africa and Asia.

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