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Canadian Company Developing Plant-Base Coronavirus Vaccine

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Quebec City, home of the Medicago biotech company

Quebec City, home of the Medicago biotech company

by Alex Keown, Biospace

Canada’s Medicago announced recently it has successfully produced a Virus-Like Particle (VLP) of the coronavirus just 20 days after obtaining the SARS-CoV-2 gene. The company is now focused on developing a vaccine for COVID-19, the virus caused by SARS-CoV-2.

In its announcement, the company said it will initiate preclinical testing for safety and efficacy and, if all goes well, the company anticipates the beginning of human trials by July or August. Medicago is also using its technology platform to develop antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in collaboration with the Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre. The antibodies could potentially be used to treat people infected by the virus. The university program is headed by Gary Kobinger, who helped develop a vaccine and treatment for Ebola.

Bruce Clark, chief executive officer of Medicago said the pace of its progress in COVID-19 research is “is attributable to the capability” of the company’s plant-based platform, which is used to develop protein-based therapeutics. Clark said the plant-based approach allows the company to produce vaccine and antibody solutions to counteract this global public health threat.

“The ability to produce a candidate vaccine within 20 days after obtaining the gene is a critical differentiator for our proven technology. This technology enables scale-up at unprecedented speed to potentially combat COVID-19,” Clark said in a statement.

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© 2020 Biospace

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