Elusys and Lonza to increase production of late-stage anthrax treatment

Biotech companies Elusys Therapeutics and Lonza announced on July 21 that they have extended a 2009 agreement with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase production of Anthim, their late-stage anthrax treatment.

Under the agreement, one of Lonza’s facilities in the U.S. will be the center of providing process scale-up, technology transfer, validation and manufacturing. The original$143 million contract was made with DHHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The contract was one of the largest issued by BARDA for an advanced development project.

"Elusys is pleased to extend its relationship with Lonza for the commercial production of Anthim, an anti-toxin that has been highly effective in treating anthrax infected animals," James Porter, vice president of development and manufacturing at Elusys, said. "Anthim has the potential to deliver significant therapeutic benefit to Americans infected with anthrax in a bioterrorism emergency and therefore, we believe that partnering with Lonza provides Elusys the manufacturing experience and large-scale capacity needed to ensure commercial quantities of Anthim long-term.”

A single dose of Anthim has been shown to prevent death in 70 to 100 percent of animals exposed to the inhalation of anthrax spores. It is a high affinity, humanized and deimmunized monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the toxic effects of anthrax and is being developed as a potential countermeasure to the threat of a biological attack.

"Working with the team at Elusys on such a novel new antibody therapy has been very rewarding," Dr. Stephan Kutzer, head of Lonza Custom Manufacturing, said. "We are excited about continuing our successful relationship and look forward to supporting Elusys in the launch and long-term commercial supply of Anthim."