Plant-based VLP technology

The Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Group is developing vaccines using a new technology.

There are three main types of vaccines.

  • Live vaccines made from a weakened form of the bacteria or virus that causes a disease
  • Inactivated vaccines made from the killed version of the bacteria or virus that causes a disease
  • Toxoid vaccines based on the toxin produced by the bacteria that cause the disease and rendered harmless

These types of vaccines take much more time to produce than ordinary drugs, because they are produced by growing viruses and bacteria and so many vaccines are needed to get many people vaccinated.

Medicago's plant-based VLP technology

Plant-based VLP vaccines developed by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma's affiliated company, Medicago Inc. are novel vaccines using virus like particle manufacturing technology. VLP has an external structure similar to that of viruses, and are expected to induce a high immunogenicity. Since VLP does not have genetic materials, it does not proliferate in the body and is attracting attention as a promising vaccine technology with excellent safety. In addition, plant-derived VLP manufacturing technology is expected to enable mass production in a short period of time.

VLP is a non-infectious and a more efficient way of presenting antigens to the immune system.
Common virus with a surface antigens, lipid membrane, internal proteins and genetic materials.

Potential Benefits


Ability to deliver research grade vaccines doses in 19 days and clinical grade in 6-8 weeks


Designed to accurately match the recommended target strains (for influenza)


Ability to produce both vaccines and antibodies with the same platform


Ease of scale-up, one plant or 10,000 plants require the same growth

Medicago Master production

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