DTRA awards grant for research into bioweapons countermeasures

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency has awarded the Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology in Newark, Del., $1.5 million for research into a key step in the development of countermeasures to combat biological pathogens.
FhCMB will provide the United States government with a sustainable source of reagents that will advance critical research aimed at developing the countermeasures. The reagents will also be valuable for diagnostic and surveillance purposes.
"Our unique platform technology, using plants for the production of target protein reagents, has been shown to be highly efficient and flexible for a wide variety of molecules, including many that have been 'hard to produce' using more traditional approaches," Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, the executive director of FhCMB, said. "Our experience in molecular biology and protein biochemistry will be important factors in the successful development of these critical reagents."  
Biological agents for biowarfare can threaten the security of populations globally due to their ability to be easily concealed, transported and released with devastating consequences. Creating effective and rapid countermeasures is a requirement to most effectively preserve life.
"Protecting public safety is one of my top priorities," Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said. "That's why I was glad to see that FhCMB received this federal funding from the DTRA to support their critically important research. Investing in this research will help identify ways to protect the public in the unfortunate event of biological warfare, and is one important part of our broader homeland security effort."
FhCMB develops rapid, safe and economical alternatives for vaccine production. The center is well positioned to meet the needs of expanding markets while focusing on its core mission of developing new therapeutics and vaccines.
"We must continue to make the smart investments that will protect our national security," John Carney, D-Del., said. "I'm glad that FhCMB will have the opportunity to use their resources and expertise to conduct critical research on biological threats to our nation. I hope their developments will move us toward greater protection for all Americans."