Medicago USA Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Medicago Inc., received its fourth payment towards its plan to demonstrate the scalable manufacturing of its plant-expressed Virus-Like Particle (VLP) vaccines in the U.S.
To date the company has received $19.8 million of the potential $21 million award from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
"This milestone focused on completing documentation related to a phased commissioning approach to the cGMP facility and equipment, as well as results from recent engineering runs in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Our U.S. vaccine facility began operations in September 2011, and we continue to expect to complete the fifth and sixth milestones related to this project in the first half of 2012," said Mike Wanner, vice president U.S. Operations of Medicago USA.
The 97,000-square-foot vaccine facility in North Carolina is a scaled-up facility for Medicago's VLP plant-based vaccine technology, ultimately for the delivery of current good manufacturing practice (cGMP)-grade vaccine. Medicago intends to demonstrate its capacity to produce 10 million doses/month of influenza vaccines with the potential for further expansion in the future.
This DARPA project is part of the Blue Angel influenza vaccine rapid response demonstration project which seeks to identify new ways to produce large amounts of high quality vaccine grade protein in less than 3 months in response to emerging and novel biologic threats.