PanThera Biopharma gets $1.6 million contract for botulism antidote research

HONOLULU — PanThera Biopharma announced the award of a one-year, $1.6 million contract from the Department of Defense to advance the company's research of antidote for botulism.

PanThera's objective is to create a medical countermeasure against botulism that is affordable, easy to use and stockpile for military and civilian populations.

"This endeavor, developed and perfected in Hawaii, will be part of a layered approach to prepare our nation for combating biological warfare," said U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. "We can never be idle when it comes to investing in advanced research that will save lives and deter terrorism."

PanThera's small-molecule antitoxins are designed to provide the improved manufacturability and stability needed to serve as a practical solution for acquisition into strategic stockpiles. Current biological products based on antibodies are available in limited supply, require cold storage and are very expensive.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, botulism is a serious paralytic illness caused by neurotoxins produced by several Clostridium botulinum bacterial strains. Exposure to botulinum toxins can lead to death caused by respiratory failure unless ventilation is assisted mechanically. Therefore, rapid diagnosis and access to intensive medical care and antitoxin are vitally important.