Tekmira awarded contract to fight Ebola

Officials with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp., have been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a drug to combat Ebola virus.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the grant was provided through the DOD’s Chemical and Biological Defense Program and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

Tekmira will use its SNALP - stable nucleic acid-lipid particle- lipid nanoparticle technology to treat Ebola virus infection.

Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's president and CEO, told The Wall Street Journal that the company is eligible to receive up to $34.7 million over the next three years under terms of the contract. Murray said the initial funding is for pre-clinical development, application fees with the United States Food and Drug Administration and completion of a Phase 1 human safety clinical trial.

Murray added that Tekmira will also have the option to extend the contract beyond the initial funding period to support the advancement of the Ebola SNALP product through clinical development and FDA approval, providing Tekmira with a total of up to U.S. $140 million in funding for the entire program.

“This contract is a significant accomplishment for Tekmira and a proud moment for our team,” Murray told The Wall Street Journal. “It is important recognition of the potential of our SNALP platform and, more broadly, the promise of RNAi to treat serious infectious diseases such as Ebola. We are enthusiastic about advancing Ebola SNALP through clinical trials to FDA approval.  This work builds on our recently published research, where we reported that Ebola SNALP could confer complete protection to non-human primates from a lethal dose of Ebola virus.”

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U.S. Department of Defense

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