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Medicago discovers breakthrough method of preparing plant derived recombinant proteins and VLPs and files two PCT patent applications

QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG), a biotechnology company focused on developing highly effective and affordable vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today announced it has filed two international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) that broadly cover new methods of preparing plant-derived recombinant proteins and VLPs.

"The extraction and purification of recombinant proteins and complex structures such as VLPs from plant cell impurities has been a major impediment to the development of our industry since its early days. Current methods rely on mechanical breakdown of plant biomass to separate recombinant proteins and VLPs from plant cells. Unfortunately these methods also frees plant impurities from the plant cell, which render downstream purification more costly and complex." said Louis Vézina, Chief Scientific Officer of Medicago. "We have discovered and filed patent applications for a new method of biochemical degradation that releases recombinant proteins and/or VLPs in the extract and eliminates most plant-originating impurities in one single-step which greatly simplifies subsequent purification steps."

"These new patent applications will enhance the company's IP position, and establish our competitive advantage with respect to the development of VLPs and other recombinant proteins in plants. We have successfully applied our process to a broad range of VLPs and recombinant proteins such as antibodies," said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. "Our new purification process will reduce cost, allow for a simpler regulatory process, and provide easier technology transfer for potential licensees. We hold all intellectual property rights related to our purification process and believe our innovative method is a key technology for the future of our industry."

About Medicago

Medicago is committed to provide highly effective and affordable vaccines based on proprietary Virus-Like Particle (VLP) and manufacturing technologies. Medicago is developing VLP vaccines to protect against H5N1 pandemic influenza, using a transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens in non-transgenic plants. This technology has potential to offer advantages of speed and cost over competitive technologies. It could deliver a vaccine for testing in about a 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 strikes and to supply large volumes of vaccine antigens to the world market. Additional information about Medicago is available at

Forward Looking Statements

This news release includes certain forward-looking statements that are based upon current expectations, which involve risks and uncertainties associated with Medicago's business and the environment in which the business operates. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking, including those identified by the expressions "anticipate", "believe", "plan", "estimate", "expect", "intend", and similar expressions to the extent they relate to Medicago or its management. The forward-looking statements are not historical facts, but reflect Medicago's current expectations regarding future results or events. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, including the matters discussed under "Risks Factors and Uncertainties" in Medicago's Annual Information Form filed on March 24, 2010 with the regulatory authorities. Medicago assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements.

SOURCE Medicago Inc.
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