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Medicago succesfully expresses VLP antigen for A H1N1 strain

QUEBEC CITY, May 12 /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 successfully expressed a new VLP antigen ("H1 VLP") from the influenza A (H1N1) strain that caused the recent Influenza outbreak in North America and other countries. The antigen was expressed within 14 days of receiving the DNA sequence with the Company's VLP vaccine technology and Proficia(TM) manufacturing technology.

Initial results show that the new H1 VLP is comparable to other VLPs recently expressed by Medicago such as the New Caledonia strain (H1N1) and Brisbane strain (H1N1). The primary goal of this initiative was to confirm, in a real case-scenario, Medicago's initial development timelines. Medicago requires the genetic sequence of the virus, limiting delays that may happen with traditional systems. The H1 VLP will be purified in preparation for an immunogenicity study in mice. The Company expects results from this study in June, with the goal of confirming the immunogenic potential of this H1 VLP.

"We are thrilled with these initial results. They demonstrate that we can rapidly express an antigen from a new influenza strain without modifying our current technology and could potentially be a first responder solution in the face of a pandemic," said Louis-Philippe Vezina, Chief Scientific Officer of Medicago. "Our ultimate goal is to provide a rapid approach to vaccine production allowing for immediate access to the antigens of emerging influenza strains. Current influenza vaccine manufacturing technologies can take up to six months to produce a vaccine for a new strain. With our proprietary technology we believe we can potentially cut development time up to five months."

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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SOURCE Medicago Inc.
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