BARDA orders Bavarian Nordic smallpox vaccine

BARDA orders Bavarian Nordic smallpox vaccine. | Courtesy of Bavarian Nordic
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) placed an order with Bavarian Nordic for $133 million worth of IMVAMUNE, a non-replicating vaccine for smallpox, the company announced on Tuesday.

Currently, tests are being done on a freeze-drying method for the vaccine, and if it proves to be effective in preserving the efficacy of the vaccine, freeze-dried forms of the vaccine would replace current vaccines in the Strategic National Stockpile. A recent Phase 2 study indicated that both liquid-frozen and freeze-dried forms of the vaccine had equivalent immune responses. Freeze-drying stock would extend the shelf life of doses and would likely be applied to this order if the method is approved by U.S. authorities.

"This order was made possible by previous BARDA funding, which allowed us to identify a new process to extend the shelf-life of the bulk vaccine," Bavarian Nordic President and CEO Paul Chaplin said. "This process now offers greater flexibility for stockpiling our vaccines by governments. The bulk supply could represent the initial transition to a freeze-dried formulation of IMVAMUNE, once an Emergency Use Authorization has been granted. Our successful, decade-long partnership with BARDA paves the way for improved public health preparedness, ensuring all Americans are protected from smallpox, including those people with compromised immune systems and skin disorders like eczema."

This order is considered a contract extension between the company and BARDA; it is expected to be completed between 2016 and 2017.