Similar benefits, without the risks
Virus-like particles (VLPs) represent an exciting approach to vaccine development. VLPs mimic the native structure of viruses, allowing them to be easily recognized by the immune system. However, they lack core genetic material which makes them non-infectious and unable to replicate. In other words, they are safe and highly effective as they induce an immune response similar to a natural infection but without the inconveniences associated with it.
Furthermore, VLPs can be engineered to have antigens attached for use in vaccines or other immunotherapies.
Infectious influenza viruswith a surface antigens, lipid membrane, internal proteins and genetic materials
Plants as mini protein factories
Plants are highly efficient at producing proteins of varying complexity, serving as bioreactors - or mini factories - for our vaccines and protein-based therapeutics. Medicago's plant-based production platform demonstrates better agility, accuracy, and speed compared with other manufacturing technologies by eliminating the risk of mutation and contamination during production, and significantly shortening production timelines.
Our Platform's Competitive Advantages
Clinical grade material in 5-6 weeks
Rapid monovalent manufacturing
Ability to accurately match circulating strain
No risk of mutation in plants
No risk at scale-up vs. fermenters: one plant or 10,000 plants require the same growth conditions
Capacity adjustable to market needs - High yields
Co-expression of different proteins or subunits, from vaccines to antibodies
No use of transgenic plants
Medicago has developed the Proficia® technology, a proprietary alternative to current egg-based and cell production systems. With living plants as hosts, Proficia® technology uses transient protein expression in plant leaves to create a flexible, high-yield system for producing effective vaccines and antibodies. This technology platform is very versatile and to date has been able to produce a wide range of protein-based products providing opportunities outside of influenza.
Proficia® can be applied for the production of vaccines, including virus-like particles (VLPs), and therapeutic proteins. Proficia® has been scaled down by Medicago's scientists to develop our rapid discovery platform, VLPExpress™.
How it Works
Genes are synthesized from viral sequence with no live virus required
Genetic material introduced into plants through vacuum infiltration
Plants are incubated up to eleven days in growth chambers for protein expression and VLP formation
Plants are harvested to extract VLPs
VLPs are purified to obtain clinical grade material
In the transient expression system, a culture of the bacterial vector (Agrobacterium tumefaciens) is forced into the leaf tissue under vacuum. Once inside the tissue, bacteria bearing the gene of interest are capable of infecting the surrounding cells and transferring the recombinant DNA (named T-DNA for transfer DNA) to the nucleus of the plant cell. Inside the nucleus, the T-DNA is eventually transcribed into proteins without being integrated in the genome.
Incubation period of up to eleven days allowing for transient protein expression.