Medicago USA, which is building a manufacturing facility in RTP, has received a $3.8 million payment from the federal government for hitting a contract milestone.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is under contract to pay Medicago $21 million for vaccine development and production. It has received $10.7 million so far.

“The ability to build a state-of-the-art vaccine facility in just one year requires a great technology, solving novel engineering problems, and a solid team,” said Mike Wanner, vice president of U.S. Operations at Medicago USA. “We have met all milestones to date and our U.S. vaccine facility is projected to be operational during the second half of 2011.”

Medicago is building a 90,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the Triangle.

The vaccines it is developing would be used to fight a future pandemic.

The state of North Carolina is providing a $128,000 One North Carolina Fund grant toward the project.

The company is developing a technology that produces vaccines within tobacco plants. Protein for the vaccine are harvested from the tobacco.

Based on its process, Medicago believes it can identify a vaccine and produce an injectable vaccine in a month.

Medicago USA is a subsidiary of Canada-based Medicago Inc.

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