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Medicago soars 21% on $357-million takeover by Philip Morris subsidiary

medicago vaccine

medicago vaccine
Quebec’s Medicago, which develops plant based vaccines to combat new strains of influenza, will be sold to Philip Morris subsidiary Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma for $357-million.
Another Canadian tech -this time in the life sciences space- is being sold to a foreign buyer.

This morning, Medicago (TSX:MDG) announced it had entered into a definitive arrangement agreement with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp, an affiliate of Philip Morris International, to sell of its shares at $1.16. The transaction values the company at $357-million.

Medicago CEO Andy Sheldon said the deal will allow Medicago to complete work on its innovative vaccine solutions.

“Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, a top 30 global pharmaceutical company, has been a solid and committed partner with the ability to drive Medicago’s future growth and success in the development of our best-in-class rapid plant-based vaccines,” he said. “Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma’s capabilities in biopharmaceutical research, development, and commercialization along with its financial stability offer us the ideal opportunity to realize the full potential of our platform. These resources provide us the ability to foster the development of innovative vaccines with the financial stability to expand our Quebec, Canadian, U.S. and global operations.”


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Quebec-based Medicago came to public attention when the 2009 swine flu panic threatened North America, and trailed off after the most dire of predictions failed to materialize. The company, which develops plant based vaccines to combat new strains of influenza, was awarded a $21-million grant from the Department of Defense a year later.

Medicago’s solutions all about speed. The company uses tobacco leaves to produce pandemic and seasonal influenza VLP vaccines. One of the real benefits to this solution, compared to traditional egg-based or cell based production is how quickly it can be produced; a vaccine can be produced for testing a month or less after the identification of a new strain.

Investors were counting on little chance that the deal would fall through, at press time shares of Medicago were up 21.1% to $1.15, and the stock was the heaviest trader on the TSX.

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.

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