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PMI subsidiary reaches agreements with Canada for Covid-19 vaccine efforts

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Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company based in Quebec City, announced that it reached an agreement with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to supply up to 76 million doses of its vaccine candidate for COVID-19, subject to Health Canada approval.

“We welcome the collaboration announced between two departments of the Canadian government and Medicago to accelerate its efforts against COVID-19. Better outcomes can be achieved when governments and companies join efforts to promote shared objectives for the greater good," said PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos.

Since 2008, Philip Morris Investments B.V. (PMIBV), a subsidiary of Philip Morris International (PMI) (NYSE: PM), has been a shareholder of Medicago, currently holding approximately one-third equity stake, and has supported Medicago’s innovative plant-derived research and development focused on vaccines.

"We are pleased to be able to support Medicago’s work to develop, substantiate, manufacture and make available a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We all hope they will be successful," Calantzopoulos said.

The investment is consistent with PMI’s own efforts to leverage science and innovation. Japan-based Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) is the majority shareholder and PMIBV’s partner in Medicago. PMIBV and MTPC will contribute additional funding to support Medicago’s efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Innovation, Science & Economic Development (ISED), another department of the Canadian federal government, will contribute approximately US$131 million to Medicago to support ongoing vaccine development and clinical trials, and for the construction of a manufacturing facility in Quebec City.

Medicago began Phase 1 testing on volunteers on July 14 and is anticipating that Phase 2 trials will begin in early November this year.  If Phase 2 trials are successful, Phase 3 trials are expected to begin in December.

PMI is leading a transformation in the tobacco industry to create a smoke-free future and ultimately replace cigarettes with smoke-free products to the benefit of adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, society, the company, and its shareholders.

PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, as well as smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the U.S.

The company ships a version of its IQOS Platform 1 device and its consumables to Altria Group Inc. for sale under license in the U.S., where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently authorized their marketing as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP), finding that an exposure modification order for these products is appropriate to promote the public health.

PMI is building a future on a new category of smoke-free products that, while not risk-free, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke.

Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities, and scientific substantiation, PMI aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements.

PMI’s smoke-free product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. As of September 30, 2020, PMI estimates that approximately 11.7 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to PMI’s heat-not-burn product, available for sale in 61 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand.

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