Quantcast
Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 13:21 EDT

Medicago and Cellectis Successfully Achieve First Step in Research Collaboration

October 3, 2012

-Progress made towards production of biosimilar products in tobacco
plants-

QUEBEC CITY and SAINT PAUL, MN, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Medicago Inc. (TSX:
MDG) (OTCQX: MDCGF), (“Medicago”) a biopharmaceutical company focused
on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on
proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus Like Particles
(“VLP”s), and Cellectis plant sciences, a US-based subsidiary of
Cellectis Group (Alternext: ALCLS), (“Cellectis”), the specialist in
genome engineering, today announced the successful completion of the
first step in their research collaboration to improve therapeutic
proteins produced in tobacco plants.

As part of an ongoing effort in the development biosimilar protein
therapeutics from tobacco plants, Medicago is partnering with Cellectis
to modify the glycosylation of biosimilar product candidates.  A
biosimilar product is a therapeutic protein, which is similar in terms
of quality, safety and efficacy to an already approved and marketed
biotherapeutic product. Glycosylation is the addition of sugar
molecules to proteins. Modifying the glycosylation of a protein can
optimize the efficacy and other characteristics such as solubility,
therapeutic half-life, and tissue distribution. Cellectis develops
enzymes called nucleases that can specifically cut DNA and modify
genes, and can enable the modification of protein glycosylation
patterns. These nucleases can enable the development of modified
tobacco plants with the goal of producing biosimilar products with
optimal efficacy.

Since January 2012, research conducted by Medicago and Cellectis plant
sciences has demonstrated high levels of efficacy using Cellectis’
nucleases to modify six different genes in the tobacco genome related
to protein glycosylation.  Medicago and Cellectis will now continue
with the next stage of their research collaboration, which includes
both the generation and testing of modified tobacco plants and the
evaluation of the ability to produce therapeutic proteins with modified
glycosylation.

“Developing tobacco plants capable of producing biosimilars with
modified glycosylation profiles could significantly reduce discovery
and development timelines, and also improve the therapeutic profile of
our biosimilar product candidates,” said Andy Sheldon, Chief Executive
Officer of Medicago. “In addition to our core approach of utilizing
transient expression technologies for the production of proteins in
tobacco plants, we are also exploring genome engineering applications
to improve products for human health benefit.”

“We are very pleased by the rapid achievement of these positive
results,” said Luc Mathis, Chief Executive Officer of Cellectis plant
sciences. “This success further validates our ambition to be the
leading platform technology applying genome engineering in plants and
should open new opportunities for Cellectis plant sciences as a key
partner in the plant business.”

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 VLP and manufacturing technologies. Medicago
is a worldwide leader in the development of VLP vaccines using a
transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens
in plants. This technology has potential to offer more potent vaccines
with speed and cost advantages over competitive technologies, enabling
the development of a vaccine for testing in approximately one month
after the identification and reception of genetic sequences from a
pandemic strain. This production time frame has the potential to allow
vaccination of the population before the first wave of a pandemic, and
supply large volumes of vaccine antigens to the world market. Medicago
also intends to expand development into other areas such as biosimilars
and biodefense products where the benefits of our technologies can make
a significant difference. Additional information about Medicago is
available at www.medicago.com.

About Cellectis plant sciences
Established in March 2010, Cellectis plant sciences is a subsidiary of
Cellectis dedicated to the applications of nucleases in plants. Its
main mission is to increase and accelerate usage of Cellectis’
proprietary technology in agricultural biology, broaden the company’s
platform to attract partnering opportunities and the development of
proprietary traits for selected applications. Cellectis plant sciences
is located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.

About Cellectis
Cellectis improves life by applying its genome engineering expertise to
a broad range of applications, including agriculture, bioresearch and
human therapeutics. Cellectis is listed on the NYSE-Euronext Alternext
market (code: ALCLS) in Paris. For further information about Cellectis,
visit our website at: www.cellectis.com.

Medicago Forward Looking Statements
This news release includes certain forward-looking statements or
forward-looking information for the purposes of applicable securities
laws and such statements and information are based upon current
expectations, which involve risks and uncertainties associated with
Medicago’s business and the environment in which the business operates.
Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical
facts may be deemed to be forward-looking, including those identified
by the expressions “anticipate”, “believe”, “plan”, “estimate”,
“expect”, “intend”, and similar expressions to the extent they relate
to Medicago or its management. The forward-looking statements are not
historical facts, but reflect Medicago’s current expectations regarding
future results or events. Such statements include but are not limited
to statements related to the research agreement between Medicago and
Cellectis referenced in this press release. These forward-looking
statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that
could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current
expectations, including the matters discussed under “Risk Factors and
Uncertainties” in Medicago’s Annual Information Form filed on March 29,
2012, with the regulatory authorities. Medicago assumes no obligation
to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why
actual results could differ from those reflected in the forward-looking
statements.

Cellectis Disclaimer
This press release and the information contained herein do not
constitute an offer to sell or subscribe, or a solicitation of an offer
to buy or subscribe, for shares in Cellectis in any country. This press
release contains forward-looking statements that relate to the Company
s objectives based on the current expectations and assumptions of the
Company’s management only and involve risk and uncertainties that could
cause the Company to fail to achieve the objectives expressed by the
forward-looking statements.

SOURCE Medicago Inc.


Source: PR Newswire