Medicago to receive up to US$33m under agreement to develop first rotavirus vaccine

Forms strategic alliance with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation

Canadian biopharmaceutical firm Medicago has formed a strategic alliance with Japanese drug company Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) to develop three new rotavirus vaccines.

Medicago will develop and market the first vaccine to prevent rotavirus infection in children and Mitsubishi will fund all research and development costs.

Medicago will receive an upfront payment of C$3m to begin the initial research and will also be eligible to receive up to a total of C$33m in milestones and royalty payments on future sales of the rotavirus product.

Work on an RLP vaccine target will begin immediately. Further targets under the agreement will be chosen jointly later.

Andy Sheldon, president and chief executive of Medicago, said: ‘This strategic alliance with MTPC vividly demonstrates the value pharmaceutical companies place on new technology production platforms that have the potential to improve efficacy, cost and speed of production.

‘This collaboration leverages the significant strengths of our two companies towards a shared vision that can have a positive impact on vaccine development and benefit patients worldwide.’

MTPC makes drugs for autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and renal diseases, as well as other areas with high levels of unmet medical needs.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea in infants and young children globally. More than 85% of these deaths occur in Africa and Asia. Children under five, especially those between six months and two years, are most vulnerable to the disease.

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