DOD to increase funding of nerve agent medical countermeasure program

Pharmathene, Inc., recently announced that the U.S. Department of Defense plans to exercise an option to accelerate funding for its nerve agent medical countermeasure program.

Pharmathene said the option is contingent on the countermeasure rBChE achieving key milestones in its development.

"We believe this is a timely decision given the recent headlines about the potential threat of chemical weapons. PharmAthene is proud to be working in collaboration with the DoD to address this threat and provide innovative new solutions for our partners," Eric I. Richman, the president and CEO of Pharmathene, said. "We have enjoyed a productive collaboration with the DoD for many years, beginning with our first generation nerve agent countermeasure, Protexia which completed a Phase I clinical study. We are pleased to be continuing our partnership to advance a next generation platform to deliver a flexible and efficient manufacturing approach, and a cost-effective solution to our government client in support of this important national security initiative."

RBChE, a recombinant form of human butyrycholinesterase, is a protein that is naturally occurring and found in minute quantities of human blood. It acts as a bioscavenger that can absorb toxins before they cause irreversible nerve damage.

Pharmathene's non-clinical animal studies have shown that rBChE can provide protection against nerve agent poisoning when administered before exposure and may increase survival rates when administered post-exposure.

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