BARDA funds the development of next-gen anthrax vaccines

The U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research Projects Development Authority plans to fund the development of a novel next-generation anthrax vaccine and an anthrax biotoxin through the issuance of new contracts.

BARDA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the vaccine contract to Vaxin, Inc., of Rockville, Maryland, for $14.7 million over the next two years. The contract could be extended for another four years and be worth a total of $21.7 million.

The antitoxin contract was awarded to Elusys Therapeutics, Inc., of Pine Brook, New Jersey, for two years and $26 million. It could be extended for a total of five years and be worth up to $68.9 million.

The Vaxin contract requires the company to conduct studies and develop manufacturing processes for the AdVAV vaccine. The studies will determine whether or not the vaccine can adequately protect against anthrax in fewer doses than the currently licensed vaccine, which requires five doses over an 18 month period as well as additional boosters.

The antitoxin contract requires Elusys to conduct efficacy trials on its antitoxin Anthim when administered both before and after anthrax exposure.

"These are promising medical countermeasure candidates. The new vaccine candidate has attractive attributes - ease of administration, the possibility of fewer doses, and technology that can be used to make vaccines for other diseases - and the new anthrax antitoxin candidate may enable a life-saving therapy to be available to more people sooner in an anthrax attack," BARDA Director Robin Robinson said. "Through these contracts, we are helping develop new tools to protect the public in an emergency and at the same time helping industry manage the costs of these products over their life cycle."