Paragon Bioservices awarded DoD contract for filovirus vaccine

The Baltimore-based Paragon Bioservices announced on Tuesday that it has been awarded a JVAP-CBMS contract from the Department of Defense for the development and manufacturing of a filovirus vaccine.

The contract for the "VEE Replicon Particle Trivalent Filovirus Vaccine" is initially valued at $15 million with optional provisions that, if exercised, could more than double that amount.

Filoviruses can cause up to a 90 percent fatality rate in humans, making them a potential bioterrorism agent.

"My colleagues and I are honored to be selected for this contract-one that includes the application of great science and bioprocess toward better public health and national preparedness," Marco Chacon, the CEO of Paragon, said. "It doesn't get any better than this for a CMO."

Paragon will collaborate on the project with virologists and vaccine experts from the Ames, Iowa-based Harrisvaccine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. The contract is being performed in parallel to a contract awarded to Paragon in October 2010 by the US Army. That contract involves the process development and scale-up production that will support the potency and efficacy of filovirus vaccine candidates against Marburg and Ebola viruses.

Paragon Bioservices is a GMP manufacturing and contract research organization that focuses on manufacturing and developing biopharmaceuticals for research or clinical trials. The Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program and the Chemical Biological Medical Systems work together to develop, produce and stockpile U.S. Food and Drug Administration-licensed vaccines to protect soldiers against biological agents.