QUEBEC — Medicago says it has received promising early test results for its plant-derived vaccine for COVID-19.
The Quebec City-based company says interim results of a Phase 1 clinical trial found that 100 per cent of subjects developed a promising antibody response after two doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The company, which is backed by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and tobacco giant Philip Morris, said it planned to move into mid-to-late-stage trials with a lower dose version of its vaccine, along with GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine booster.
“What we’re most encouraged with is that we are able to go with the lowest dose for our phase 2/3 trials,” Medicago’s chief executive officer Bruce Clark told Reuters.
Trials from rival coronavirus vaccine developers have generally shown that lower doses produce less side effects. Medicago says the side effects were generally mild to moderate and short in duration.
The Phase 1 clinical trial was a randomized, partially blinded study of 180 healthy people.
Medicago is Canada’s most advanced domestic COVID-19 vaccine project, but lags larger, global rivals such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which have begun late-stage trials.
Initial data from Pfizer’s large-scale study on Monday showed the vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective.
The federal government has signed deal with Medicago to secure the rights to buy 76 million doses of its vaccine. Medicago will also receive $173 million in funding from Ottawa for its vaccine research and development and for the construction of its Quebec City manufacturing facility.
“Even if you add the total number of doses that have been committed [by other companies], you are looking at a global population of seven billion and it will require different suppliers,” Clark told Reuters.
With files from Reuters.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2020.