Biotech firms working with HHS on medical countermeasures

The heads of several biotech companies met on June 16 at the 8th Annual Biodefense, Vaccines and Therapeutics Conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss their experiences working with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Daniel Abdun-Nabi, president and COO of Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., the makers of BioThrax, which is the only licensed vaccine for anthrax prevention, said his company has a history of working with the U.S. government that goes back to the late 1990’s.

“One of our key objectives “, Abdun-Nabi said, “is to really understand what the U.S. government is looking for by way of medical countermeasures. That is the key to the process because it is not always clear on the outside, to us, exactly the specifications for what might be a successful candidate.”

Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., has worked with the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration as well as with the Biomedical Advanced Research and the Development Authority within HHS to seek new methods of medical countermeasures.

“We try to keep an open dialogue, and I think it has been very very productive,” Abdun-Nabi said, crediting the ability of information sharing to keep the various interests of the departments from diverging.