Crop Biotech Update

Health Canada Approves COVIFENZ®, Medicago's Plant-based COVID-19 Vaccine

March 2, 2022

Quebec City-based biopharmaceutical company Medicago and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have announced that Health Canada has granted approval for the plant-based virus-like particles (VLP), recombinant, adjuvanted COVIFENZ® COVID-19 vaccine. Health Canada based its decision on scientific data shared by Medicago.

COVIFENZ® COVID-19 vaccine uses coronavirus-like particle (CoVLP) technology. VLPs are molecules that closely resemble viruses but do not contain any viral genetic material so they are noninfectious. COVIFENZ® is composed of recombinant spike (S) glycoprotein expressed as virus-like particles (VLPs) co-administered with GSK's pandemic adjuvant. The vaccination regimen using COVIFENZ® calls for two doses given intramuscularly 21 days apart. The vaccine is stored at 2°C to 8°C.  COVIFENZ® antigen will be manufactured in Canada and in North Carolina in the US, but it is not currently approved or authorized for the prevention of COVID-19 or any other indication anywhere other than in Canada.

The Government of Canada has a contract with Medicago to supply the COVID-19 vaccine. Medicago is committed to fulfilling this order as soon as possible. “The approval of our COVID-19 vaccine is a significant milestone for Canada in the fight against the pandemic. We appreciate Health Canada's timely review,” said Medicago's President and CEO Takashi Nagao, adding that they are now manufacturing doses to start fulfilling Canada's order.

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said, “As one of our government's top priorities has been to reverse the 40-year decline faced by Canada's biomanufacturing sector, we are pleased to see Medicago's vaccine approval. It is a great milestone for Canada's biotechnology sector and for homegrown innovation. We will continue to support companies that want to produce vaccines in Canada and join the growing national biomanufacturing sector.”

For more details, read the press release from Medicago.

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