DTRA to award ebola countermeasure contract

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) announced its intent on July 22 to award a sole source contract to MAPP Biopharmaceutical to develop a countermeasure for the ebola virus.

The contract would be for followup research to a current contract that is focusing on the development of a monoclonal antibody cocktail for ebola Zaire.

The new contract would require MAPP Biopharmaceutical to prepare and submit an Investigational New Drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its product ZMapp. The contract also calls for the company to produce enough ZMapp to begin a phase I clinical study.

The additional tasks under the new contract are expected to be complete within the current performance period of 12 months, and done on a cost plus fixed fee basis.

The DTRA said the decision not to open the contract to competition is solely at the discretion of the government.

MAPP Biopharmaceuticals has until Aug. 8 to respond to the solicitation from DTRA.

The World Health Organization recently opened a new operations facility in Guinea to combat the ebola outbreak. More than 950 cases of the disease have been recorded so far, with more than 600 deaths. The approximate mortality rate is 63 percent.