Medicago to build 90,000 sq ft vaccine plant in RTP

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vaccine

Medicago is to build a 90,000 sq ft cGMP vaccine facility in RTP, North Carolina, US using a $21m (€16.1m) grant from the US Department of Defense.

Operation of the current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) facility will allow Medicago to scale up and automate production of its virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines. When fully operational the facility will produce 10m doses of influenza vaccine a day, with potential for future expansions.

This capacity could be used in the event of a pandemic. During the H1N1 outbreak Medicago demonstrated its plant-based VLP technology can develop a vaccine candidate in under a month, making it a potentially useful tool in a pandemic.

Recognising this potential, the US Department of Defense is partly funding the project. "It is vitally important to our Homeland Security that we have a robust domestic vaccine supply​”, said David Price, a North Carolina Congressman.

In addition to helping the US mitigate future threats, the facility will “ultimately bring hundreds of good paying jobs to the region​” and be “another significant contribution to local recovery efforts​”, said Price.

For Medicago, the facility will help validate its VLP technology and strengthen its position in the market for pandemic and seasonal vaccines. Operating a US plant will also increase the number of grants and funding opportunities that are open to Medicago.

The project is due to cost $42m. This is made up of a $21m grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), $7.5m from Medicago and $13.5m from Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

"We are delighted to be working with Alexandria as they are a leader in their field and it allows us to reduce the upfront capital required for the building of our new US commercial grade facility​", said Andy Sheldon, president and CEO of Medicago.

Related topics: Ingredients, Processing equipment

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