BARDA exercises option on Pfenex contract

Pfenex, Inc., announced on Tuesday that the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, has exercised a contract option for its rPA-based anthrax vaccine.

The contract, which began in July 2010, was to support the development of the next generation rPA-based anthrax vaccine, which is based on rPA platform technology. Along with exercising a contract option, BARDA also extended the prime contract. The total increase of funding is estimated to be worth $8 million, bringing the total funding to approximately $23.9 million.

"We are pleased with the results and progress provided by Pfenex's recombinant platform technology to the production of a next generation anthrax vaccine," Bertrand C. Liang, the chief executive officer of Pfenex, said. "The exercise of this option and increase in funding by BARDA enables Pfenex and BARDA to continue our successful partnership sharing a common objective to develop an anthrax vaccine with a process capable of achieving the goals of the Strategic National Stockpile for the U. S. Government, including production, shelf life, and administration improvements."

Throughout this base period of the contract, Pfenex has been able to show that a strongly immunogenic, protective and stable form of rPA could be taken out from the fermentation of a strain of P, fluorescens. The recent exercise of additional options will help to allow for preclinical studies and cGMP manufacturing.