Pfenex receives funding for anthrax vaccine

The San Diego based developers of the anthrax vaccine Pfenex have been awarded funding by the federal Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that could reach $18.8 million.

“We are pleased to be awarded this contract for our recombinant protective antigen development program, which may offer a dramatic improvement in the nation’s ability to rapidly produce large amounts of a stable anthrax vaccine at a very competitive cost to the U. S. government," Bertrand C. Liang, Pfenex's chief executive officer, said.

“A recombinant solution for the production of this strategically relevant product has been sought after for a number of years and we are confident that Pfenex’s platform will deliver that solution.”

The contract will be used in supporting the development of a Pfenex Expression Technology-based production strain and process for  production of bulk recombinant protective antigen from anthrax.

Pfenex was formed as a spin-out from The Dow Chemical Company in 2009, according to It is an independent venture-backed entity that uses what is known as a Pseudomonas fluorescens-based platform that utilizes high throughput, parallel processing methods to produce proteins.

These processes can be applied to the creation of discovery applications, human therapeutics, vaccines, reagent proteins and biosimilars. The company has a team of over 20 scientists with a complete process development and protein production facility.