Medicago, a Quebec City-based biopharmaceutical company, is reporting positive results following Phase 1 testing of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The company says that their plant-derived vaccine candidate was given to 180 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 55.
Some of the adults were given both Medicago’s vaccine as well as a secondary agent, called an adjuvant, which is meant to help boost the effectiveness of the immunization.
Two different adjuvants were used in the first phase of testing.
According to the company, adjuvants are very important in pandemic situations. Since they’re meant to boost immune response, using an adjuvant often means that medical professionals can use a smaller amount of the base medication, leading to more overall doses.
At the end of the study, Medicago reports that 100 per cent of the test subjects developed a promising antibody response after two doses.
“These are very promising results,” said Nathalie Landry, Executive Vice President of Scientific and Medical Affairs at Medicago. “After two doses, the adjuvanted vaccine candidate induced robust neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses which is encouraging and supports further clinical evaluation.”
She adds that the antibody levels in those who received the vaccine were higher than those observed in people who already caught and recovered from COVID-19.
The company says that side effects were reported, but were generally “mild to moderate” and short in duration.
The federal government has signed a deal with Medicago to buy millions of doses of the vaccine, as long as it proves effective and gets regulatory approval.
Medicago is also getting $173-million in funding from Ottawa to help with research, development and an expansion of its manufacturing facility.
“The positive results of our Phase 1 clinical trial are a step forward in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and we are confidently moving forward to our Phase 2/3 trial,” added Dr. Bruce D. Clark, President and CEO of Medicago. “In addition to supplying up to 76-million doses to the Government of Canada, we are ready to participate globally in the fight against COVID-19.”
The company says that they are ready to go to Phase 2 and 3 testing once they get regulatory approval.