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GEN News Highlights : Mar 15, 2011

Medicago Achieves $3.8M Milestone under DARPA Contract to Build Vaccine Plant

Company aims to produce 10 million doses per month of influenza vaccines.

Medicago received a second milestone payment of $3.8 million under a Technology Investment Agreement signed last year with DARPA. The payment is part of a $21 million DARPA grant awarded to Medicago in August 2010 to develop a 90,000 sq. ft. cGMP facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC.

The plant, now under construction, is intended to demonstrate the scalable manufacture of Medicago's plant-expressed virus-like particle vaccines in the U.S. The firm aims to show that it can produce 10 million doses per month of influenza vaccines with the potential for future expansion.

Medicago has received $10.7 million to date from DARPA toward the planned vaccine facility. "We have met all milestones to date, and our U.S. vaccine facility is projected to be operational during the second half of 2011,” says Mike Wanner, vp, U.S. operations for Medicago.

The 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 three months in response to emerging and novel biologic threats.