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Medicago initiates work on Swine Flu strain

QUEBEC CITY, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Medicago Inc. (TSX-V: MDG), a biotechnology company focused on developing highly effective and affordable vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today announced that it has received a genetic sequence of the new strain of influenza A (H1N1) that has recently been identified in USA and Mexico, and has commenced laboratory work with its VLP vaccine technology to produce material for testing. According to the World Health Organization ("WHO"), a genetic analysis shows this new flu strain is a never-before-seen mixture of swine, human and avian viruses and has the potential of becoming a pandemic. The Company has already expressed VLPs of the following pandemic strains in plants: Singapore (H2N2), Anhui (H5N1), Vietnam (H5N1), Hong Kong (H6N1 and H9N2), Equine/Prague (H7N7), and of the seasonal strains New Caledonia (H1N1), Solomon Island (H1N1) and Brisbane (H1N1). Medicago is keeping health authorities informed on its work.

Medicago's H5N1 pandemic VLP vaccine has shown to be immunogenic at doses as low as 5 micrograms in preclinical studies and provided 100% cross-protection to different strains of the H5N1 virus in an animal model. The Company's proprietary plant-based manufacturing technology could deliver a vaccine, just one month after the identification of the genetic sequence from an emerging pandemic strain. This vaccine would then be tested in animals and humans and reviewed by Health Canada before it is produced on a commercial scale. Medicago recently had a pre-Clinical Trial Application ("CTA") meeting with Health Canada's Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate ("BGTD"). Based on the outcome of the meeting, the Company is finalising pre-clinical studies and preparing to move ahead with the submission of a CTA for its lead H5N1 pandemic VLP vaccine and with final approval will initiate a Phase I clinical trial in the third quarter of 2009.

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 press release contains forward-looking statements which reflect Medicago's current expectations regarding future events. The forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those projected herein. Medicago disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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    that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts
    responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release

SOURCE Medicago Inc.
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