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Medicago Biotech to Build New Production Facility in Quebec City

  • Synopsis: Published: 2015-05-26 - The Medicago Quebec City project is expected to generate more than $461 million in economic benefits over the next five years - Medicago (

Biotechnology is defined as a broad discipline in which biological processes, organisms, cells or cellular components are exploited to develop new technologies. At its simplest, biotechnology is technology based on biology - biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet. The wide concept of "biotech" or "biotechnology" encompasses a wide range of procedures for modifying living organisms according to human purposes, going back to domestication of animals, cultivation of plants, and "improvements" to these through breeding programs that employ artificial selection and hybridization. Modern usage also includes genetic engineering as well as cell and tissue culture technologies.

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Quote: "Medicago's new 44,000 m2 facility will be located on a 90,000 m2 site. It will have the capacity to deliver up to 40 to 50 million doses of quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccines."

Medicago, a major Canadian biotech company and an international leader in the development and production of plant-based vaccines and therapeutics, is proud to announce that Quebec City will be home to its new production complex. The $245 million project will create 200 new high-skilled jobs by 2019, adding to the team of 180 employees already working at Medicago's Quebec City office and laboratories. The project is expected to generate more than $461 million in direct and indirect economic benefits over the next five years.

Medicago chose Quebec City because of its qualified employees and the access to an experienced workforce, world-class research infrastructure, a dynamic business culture and support from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

A new biotech complex for producing vaccines and treatments

Medicago's new complex will be built in Quebec City's Espace d'innovation D'Estimauville (Estimauville innovation park) and completed by 2019. It will regroup Medicago's head office, research and development activities, and commercial production plant.

"We're pleased that Medicago will take this next major step in Quebec City, where we have already developed our innovative technology," said Andy Sheldon, Medicago's CEO. "We will export most of our vaccines to foreign markets, but we also believe our new production complex will help Canada meet its needs for seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines, in addition to strengthening the country's response to emerging diseases around the world."

Medicago's new 44,000 m2 facility will be located on a 90,000 m2 site. It will have the capacity to deliver up to 40 to 50 million doses of quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccines. In addition, work towards developing new products will take place over the upcoming years.

Using plants to fight seasonal and pandemic influenza, Ebola and other health threats

Medicago's innovative technology uses plants like miniature factories that can quickly produce large quantities of vaccines or treatments. This technology demonstrated its potential for responding to global pandemics when it produced candidate vaccines for H1N1 in 2009 and H7N9 in 2013 in just 19 days, compared to the several months required to produce vaccines using eggs.

Medicago was recently awarded a contract by the U.S. government to manufacture Ebola antibodies in its Quebec City pilot production plant for a study in non-human primates. The technology used can quickly produce large amounts of antibodies, thereby boosting production volumes to increase stockpiles across the globe.

A project supported by important partners

Medicago's major expansion project received support from all three levels of government in the form of loans or discounted land purchase costs.

The governments of Canada and Quebec provided loans of $8 million and $60 million, respectively.

The municipal government contributed to a value of $6.5 million.

Medicago would also like to thank Quebec International for its support throughout the project's development.

Learn More About Medicago

Medicago is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel vaccines and therapeutic proteins to address a broad range of infectious diseases worldwide. The company is committed to providing highly effective and competitive vaccines and therapeutic proteins based on its proprietary Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) and manufacturing technologies.

This technology has the potential to offer vaccines and therapeutics with speed and cost advantages over competitive technologies, enabling the development of products for testing within approximately one month after the identification and reception of genetic sequences. This production time frame has the potential to rapidly vaccinate or treat populations and supply large volumes of product to the global market.

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