Xoma awarded contract for botulism antitoxin

XOMA, LLC., was recently awarded a major federal contract to develop an antitoxin to treat human botulism toxin.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases granted the Berkeley-based company an initial award of $7 million, with the potential of up to $28 million over the next five years, according to NIH.gov.

XOMA will use the funding to develop an intravenous monoclonal antibody treatment for human botulism toxin. The treatment will target serotypes C and D of the Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin and is expected to also neutralize C/D and D/c hybrid toxins.

If successful, a botulinum monoclonal antibody treatment would be capable of replacing the existing horse-based products that are notoriously difficult to make and pose considerable safety concerns for humans.

"The success of our prior NIAID contracts for anti-botulism antibody products to Types A, B, and E toxins demonstrates the utility of XOMA's antibody development platform for biodefense applications," Dr. Patrick J. Scannon, XOMA's executive vice president, said. "It provides a strong foundation for this new contract which will expand our efforts to include Type C and Type D antitoxins."

Including the recent award, NIAID has entered into four contracts with XOMA related to biodefense product development totaling approximately $120 million.