Medicago holds official groundbreaking ceremony for its U.S. commercial grade vaccine facility
- Appoints Vice President of U.S. Operations -
RALEIGH, NC and QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Medicago U.S.A. Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of 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 that company executives, along with U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and U.S. Congressman David Price (D-NC), are holding an official groundbreaking ceremony this morning for its U.S. plant-based commercial grade vaccine facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Medicago U.S.A. also announced the appointment of Mike Wanner as Vice President of U.S. Operations.
With today's groundbreaking ceremony, Medicago U.S.A. officially commenced the construction of its cGMP facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina. This VLP plant-based vaccine facility will include a fully automated greenhouse and a state of the art extraction and purification unit. The facility is targeted to produce 10 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine per month. On an annual basis, the facility would have production capacity of 40 million doses of seasonal Influenza vaccine or 120 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine.
"Thanks to the efforts and experience of our partners Alexandria Real Estate Equities and BE&K Building Group as well as our employees at Medicago, we are confident that this fast-track project will be delivered on time," said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. "North Carolina and RTP is a great place to build our business due to the excellent workforce, training programs and quality of life."
"We are very pleased to be working with Alexandria Real Estate Equities and with Medicago who is bringing this unique, rapid and cost-effective vaccine technology to North Carolina and to the Research Triangle Park," stated Joseph M. Raimondi, Project Executive of BE&K Building Group.
Mr. Wanner joins Medicago U.S.A. as Vice President of U.S. Operations and will lead the Company's U.S. expansion efforts. He was previously President and CEO of Abeome, a biotechnology company developing therapeutic and diagnostic monoclonal antibodies. Mr. Wanner served for over 11 years as CFO for Merial and Rhone Merieux, Inc. (RMI), one of the world's leading animal health companies, where he was involved in the construction and management of a large scale vaccine production facility in the U.S.
"Mike is a key addition to our senior management team. He brings tremendous experience in the vaccine industry and his hands on knowledge in the construction and management of a large-scale U.S. vaccine production facility will have immediate benefits in our U.S expansion efforts," stated Mr. Sheldon. "This expansion is a key part of our development plan for both our pandemic and seasonal influenza products as we will now have a U.S. commercial facility ready to participate in the $7B pandemic and seasonal influenza markets. Moreover, our U.S. facility will strengthen our relationships with key stakeholders in the U.S. and will provide us with enhanced access to the various grant programs for additional funding awards."
Members of the media are invited to attend the official ground breaking ceremony
When: Friday, October 1st at 10:00am
Where: 7 Triangle Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Medicago is committed to providing highly effective and affordable vaccines based on proprietary Virus-Like Particle (VLP) and manufacturing technologies. Medicago is developing VLP vaccines to protect against pandemic and seasonal influenza using a transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens in non-transgenic plants. Their lead vaccine candidate, H5N1, has successfully completed a PI clinical trial and will be entering a PII clinical trial in 2010. Medicago's 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 www.medicago.com.