Positive Phase III trial results for plant-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate

pharmafile | December 8, 2021 | News story | Research and Development  

The biopharmaceutical company Medicago, alongside GlaxoSmithKline, have announced positive efficacy and safety results from the global Phase III placebo-controlled efficacy study of Medicago’s plant-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, in combination with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant. The study  assessed over 24,000 subjects, in adults 18 years and above, across six countries. During the study, no serious adverse events were reported.

Vaccine efficacy was demonstrated in an environment dominated by SARS-CoV-2 variants. Efficacy against COVID-19 of any severity in the globally dominant Delta variant was 75.3%; efficacy was 88.6% against the Gamma variant. Although only a small number of severe cases occurred in this study, none occurred in the vaccinated group. The Omicron variant was not circulating during the study. During the study, reactogenicity was generally mild to moderate and transient, with symptoms lasting an average 1 to 3 days.

“The results of our clinical trials show the power of plant-based vaccine manufacturing technology. If approved, we will be contributing to the world’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with the world’s first plant-based vaccine for use in humans,” said Takashi Nagao, CEO and President at Medicago.

Medicago has been developing its plant-based technology for the past 20 years, utilising technology to produce Virus-Like Particles (VLP) for its protein vaccines. VLPs are designed to mimic the native structure of viruses, allowing them to be easily recognised by the immune system. Because the VLPs lack core genetic material, they are non-infectious and unable to replicate. VLP vaccines developed by other technologies have traditionally been used worldwide for more than 30 years.

“I am pleased to see our vaccine candidate moving forward and bringing to the world the first plant-based vaccine against COVID-19, diversifying the pool of vaccines available to help improve public health and protect more people,” said Yosuke Kimura, Chief Scientific Officer at Medicago.

Ana Ovey

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