U.S. to purchase anthrax vaccine from Emergent BioSolutions, Inc.

Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., recently announced that the U.S. government has issued a request for proposal indicating that it intends to purchase 44.75 million doses of the anthrax vaccine BioThrax to be included in the Centers for Disease Control’s Strategic National Stockpile.

Although the request for proposal is not an absolute guarantee of a contract, Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., is seen as the likely winner since BioThrax is the only anthrax vaccine currently licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Rockville, Maryland, based biopharmaceutical company said it is in discussions with the government to produce the additional doses over a five-year period through a sole source contract.

"Emergent is pleased to be in active discussions with the U.S. government for a multi-year supply of BioThrax to the SNS," Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions, said. "We remain dedicated to serve as a reliable and long-standing supplier of medical countermeasures that support the U.S. government's continued commitment to anthrax preparedness."

The contract is expected to be finalized with the government during the third quarter. Analysts expect its worth to be more than $1 billion over the five year period.

BioThrax is indicated for the immunization of adults with a high risk of exposure to anthrax. It is manufactured from a non-virulent strain of the bacteria Bacillus anthracis.

Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., has already delivered 42 million doses of the vaccine to the U.S. government and continues to do so under existing procurement contracts. Since 1998, 2.5 million military personnel have received 10 million doses of the vaccine.