Quebec company partners with Canadian government to find a cure to COVID-19
MONTREAL -- The Canadian government announced Monday it is committing $192 million to find a vaccine to COVID-19.
One of the companies it is working with, Quebec City-based Medicago, states it has already successfully produced a “ virus-like-particle (VLP) just 20 days after getting the SARs-CoV-2 gene.”
“Production of the VLP is the first step in developing a vaccine for COVID-19, which will now undergo preclinical testing for safety and efficacy,” the biopharmaceutical company stated.
Once testing is complete, Medicago says it wants to start initiating human trials of the vaccine by summer 2020.
“These SARS-CoV-2 antibodies could potentially be used to treat people infected by the virus,” the company added.
Medicago noted it is currently working with Laval University's infectious disease research centre, led by Dr. Gary Kobinger, one of the doctors who discovered a treatment for ebola.
“The collaborative efforts established between the research team at Laval University and Medicago have been very successful in developing unique antibodies against infectious diseases,” he said. “That experience gives us confidence for successful identification of therapeutic antibodies against SARS-CoV-2."
Medicago says it uses plant-based technology to develop their vaccines, “which allows for greater quantities to be produced in shorter periods of time.”
It explains ‘plant-based’ means Medicago does not use animal products or live viruses to create its products.
"The pace of our initial progress in COVID-19 is attributable to the capability of our plant-based platform, which is able to produce vaccine and antibody solutions to counteract this global public health threat,” explained said Dr. Bruce Clark, CEO of Medicago. “This technology enables scale-up at unprecedented speed to potentially combat COVID-19."
In fact, during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, Medicago said it produced a vaccine candidate against the virus in just 19 days.
The company is currently in the process of building a new manufacturing plant in Quebec City, to be opened in 2023. It has more than 450 employees in Canada and the United States.