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UPDATE 1-Medicago vaccine slated for clinical trial

* Grant funds single-dose H5N1 vaccine development

* Clinical trial to combine adjuvants and Medicago vaccine

TORONTO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Medicago Inc MDG.TO will participate in an early-stage clinical trial of a vaccine designed for use in the event of an avian pandemic flu outbreak, the Canadian biotechnology company said on Tuesday.

The Quebec City-based biotech is developing a single-dose H5N1 influenza vaccine. It will take part in the trial with the Infectious Disease Research Institute, which was awarded a multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Defense Department.

Medicago produces pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines from plants such as tobacco leaves. It uses proprietary technology to produce particles that resemble a virus, but are non-infectious and cannot replicate.

The trial will combine Medicago’s plant-made H5 virus-like particle vaccine with the institute’s vaccine adjuvant technology. Adjuvants are substances that improve an antigen’s ability to create an immune response in the body.

Last week, Medicago said a peer-reviewed journal published a report on its clinical trial for plant-based H5N1 vaccines. [ID:nN05272383] (Reporting by S. John Tilak) (john.tilak@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8067)

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