BARDA funds new anthrax treatment

Officials with Elusys Therapeutics recently announced that they have been awarded a second $40.6 million contract for the advanced development of an anthrax treatment.

The contract, which is in addition to $16.8 million already funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, is for further development of Anthim.

Company officials said that Anthim is an anti-toxin that significantly increases survival in anthrax-infected animals and is a promising candidate for the treatment of anthrax infection in people.

Company officials added that Anthim has excellent potential as an effective treatment for people infected by or exposed to anthrax spores. In lab tests, a single dose of Anthim consistently protected 70 to 100 percent of anthrax-infected animals from death.

Elizabeth Posillico, Elusys' president and CEO, said that she is pleased with the funding increase and noted that it is part of a potential five-year contract award totaling up to $143 million.

“We are delighted by our continued progress with Anthim's development and BARDA's ongoing commitment to further support our efforts,” Posillico said. “Anthim consistently provides significant survival benefit in the treatment of anthrax infection in animal models and is well-tolerated when administered to human subjects. Anthim has the potential to deliver considerable therapeutic benefit to Americans infected with anthrax in a bioterrorism emergency.”

Posillico said Elusys also recently received funding to support further development of an intramuscular formulation of Anthim from the Department of Defense.

Anthrax is a life-threatening disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. It is one of the nation's top biowarfare threats. Inhaled anthrax is often fatal even if treated with antibiotics.