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Technologies

Virus-Like particles

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 virus

with a surface antigens, lipid membrane, internal proteins and genetic materials

Medicago's VLP

is a non-infectious and a more efficient way of presenting antigens to the immune system

Infectious influenza virus

with a surface antigens, lipid membrane, internal proteins and genetic materials

Medicago's VLP

is a non-infectious and a more efficient way of presenting antigens to the immune system

Production platform

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

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Rapid

Clinical grade material in 5-6 weeks

Rapid monovalent manufacturing

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Accurate

Ability to accurately match circulating strain

No risk of mutation in plants

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Scalable

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

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Versatile

Co-expression of different proteins or subunits, from vaccines to antibodies

No use of transgenic plants

Proficia®

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

Synthesis

Genes are synthesized from viral sequence with no live virus required

Infiltration

Genetic material introduced into plants through vacuum infiltration

Incubation

Plants are incubated up to eleven days in growth chambers for protein expression and VLP formation

Harvest

Plants are harvested to extract VLPs

Purification

VLPs are purified to obtain clinical grade material

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Transient expression occurs from recombinant DNA being transferred by a bacterial vector to the nucleus of plant cells without genomic integration. Medicago's system benefits from the combination of a highly efficient plant-derived expression cassette with the enhancing properties of a viral suppressor of transgene silencing.
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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.

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Incubation period of up to eleven days allowing for transient protein expression.

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Plant leaves are harvested and processed in Medicago's purification facility with commercial extraction systems (upstream processing) to generate a clarified, stabilized and concentrated extract which is then moved to the final steps of purification (downstream processing).
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This process is used to provide clinical-grade active pharmaceutical ingredients, such as purified prophylactic or therapeutic proteins.