In Canada, in Quebec City, a vast structure of steel and glass is taking shape.
The 44,000 sq m facility looks like, for all intents and purposes, a traditional greenhouse that will be home to thousands of plants in the coming years.
But this building is no garden centre. Instead, it will be used to manufacture our plant-based vaccines and therapeutics.
Our story starts with humble beginnings when two innovators with a passion for science and business ventured out on their own to found what would become an innovative company. While they did not have heating or insulation against cold Quebec winters – this didn’t stop them from starting an incredible journey that would introduce a new vaccine technology to the arsenal of defences against infectious diseases.
Despite our initially modest abode, the location of the garage-laboratory provided more than just a twist of fate in Medicago’s continued growth. Positioned in Quebec, the company was able to take advantage of a highly skilled workforce and the academic prowess and the prosperous commercialism of the region.
Influence on the life-science eco-system
It has been a symbiotic relationship, not only through the construction of our first plant in 2005, which created dozens of jobs in Quebec, but also through the hiring of hundreds of people and the building of a new facility. Our influence on the life-science eco-system is significant. A benefit that has not gone unnoticed by the Canadian and Quebec governments, that have recognised and welcomed our positive impact on the region.
Our second facility has also seen us cross the border from Canada to the US in Durham, North Carolina. Using our previous success in Quebec as a template, the tech hub at 14,500 sq m, is based in the famous Research Triangle Park in the ‘City of Medicine’; providing once again access to a skilled workforce that is continuing to springboard our ground-breaking scientific advancements.
Our investments in technology, infrastructure and talent across Canada and the US have enabled us to be at the forefront of research and we have steadily been scaling up to disrupt the boundaries of infectious disease prevention and treatment.
To transform the global vaccine industry
Today, Toshifumi Tada, President and CEO is leading our ambition to transform the global vaccine industry and improve public health around the world. He states, “when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Medicago was an R&D-focused company that had yet to commercialize a product. We have since advanced our unique technology from the realm of scientific possibility, to authorized product. We are now ready to enter a new phase of our history and our goal remains to help protect as many people as possible around the globe.”
Medicago’s teams are committed to developing plant-based vaccines that are safe and effective. They believe that this technology has the potential to transform the global vaccine industry and help improve public health around the world. Our goal is to provide access to this technology to as many people as possible.
“We have come a long way since our small biotech days working out of a garage,” recalls Marc-André D’Aoust, Executive Vice President, Research, Innovation and Medical Affairs at Medicago, who joined the company in 1999. “The name Medicago comes from Medicago sativa, the first plant we worked with, known for its robustness and adaptability. These are qualities that we embody here at Medicago, and ones that will keep us steadfast on our mission to fight infectious diseases, today and in the future. The progress we have made to date is remarkable and truly transformative, and we’re only at the start of our journey.”