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PMI announces Medicago to supply up to 76 mn doses of its plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Medicago began the phase I testing on volunteers on July 14 and is anticipating that phase II trials will begin in early November 2020

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Since 2008, Philip Morris Investments BV (PMIBV), a subsidiary of Philip Morris International (PMI) has been a shareholder of Medicago (in which it currently holds an approximately one-third equity stake) and has supported Medicago’s innovative plant-derived research and development focused on vaccines. The investment is consistent with PMI’s own efforts to leverage science and innovation. Japan-based Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) is the majority shareholder and PMIBV’s partner in Medicago. Among other things, PMIBV and MTPC will contribute additional funding to support Medicago’s efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Medicago announced that it reached an agreement with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to supply up to 76 million doses of its vaccine candidate for COVID-19, subject to Health Canada approval. Innovation, Science & Economic Development (ISED), another department of the Canadian federal government, will contribute C$173M (or approximately $131M) to Medicago to support its on-going vaccine development and clinical trials, and for the construction of its Quebec City manufacturing facility.

André Calantzopoulos, CEO, PMI said, “We welcome the collaboration announced between two departments of the Canadian government and Medicago to accelerate its efforts against COVID-19. Better outcomes can be achieved when governments and companies join efforts to promote shared objectives for the greater good. We are pleased to be able to support Medicago’s work to develop, substantiate, manufacture, and make available a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We all hope they will be successful.”

Medicago began the phase I testing on volunteers on July 14 and is anticipating that phase II trials will begin in early November 2020. If phase II trials are successful, phase III trials are expected to begin in December 2020.

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