Medicago, an international biotech leader in the development and production of plant-based vaccines and therapeutics, will build a new complex in Québec City to house its head office, its R&D activities and new production facilities.
The $245 million project will create 200 new high-skilled jobs by 2019, in addition to the team of 180 employees already working at Medicago’s Québec City office and laboratories. The project is expected to generate more than $461 million in direct and indirect economic benefits over the next five years.
“We're pleased that Medicago will take this next major step in Québec City, where we have already developed our innovative technology,” says Andy Sheldon, Medicago’s CEO. The company will export most of its vaccines to foreign markets, help Canada meets its needs for seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines and respond to the needs of emerging countries.
Why Medicago was drawn to Québec City
Medicago’s major expansion project received support in the form of loans or discounted land purchase costs, including a loan from Investissement Québec for $60 million.
The company was attracted by Québec’s highly qualified and experienced workforce, world-class research infrastructure and dynamic business culture.
A new biotech complex with mega capacity
Medicago’s new 44,000 m2 facility will be built in Québec City’s Espace d’innovation D’Estimauville (Estimauville innovation park) on a 90,000 m2 site and completed by 2019.
The facility will have the capacity to deliver up to 40 to 50 million doses of quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccines. In addition, new products will be developed over the coming years.
Miniature factories that can fight major health threats
Medicago’s innovative technology uses plants to produce large quantities of vaccines or treatments quickly. This technology demonstrated its potential for responding to global pandemics by producing candidate vaccines for H1N1 in 2009 and H7N9 in 2013 in just 19 days, compared to the several months required to produce vaccines using eggs.
Pivotal in the fight against Ebola
Medicago was recently awarded a contract by the U.S. government to manufacture Ebola antibodies in its Québec City pilot production plant for a study in non-human primates. The technology used can quickly produce large amounts of antibodies and boost production volumes to increase stockpiles across the globe.
Medicago was acquired by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma (Japan) in 2013, a transaction valued at $357M. The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company develops novel vaccines and therapeutic proteins to address a broad range of infectious diseases worldwide.