Development set to begin on new anthrax vaccine

Initial development is set to begin on a next-generation anthrax vaccine development program between Soligenix, Inc., and Harvard University.

The initial development work on the vaccine will be covered pursuant to a previously issued $9.4 million National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease grant meant to enable the development of thermo-stable ricin and anthrax vaccines, reports.

The development option encompasses a patent to cover the engineered variants of a protective antigen developed in the lab of Harvard Medical School's Dr. John Collier. The protective antigen is the principal determinant of protective immunity to anthrax.

Soligenix believes that Collier's protective antigen can be developed with an efficacy profile similar to other anthrax vaccines.

The federal government has recently made a major push to develop improved vaccines for both pre- and post-anthrax exposure. The current vaccine, known as an anthrax vaccine adsorbed, consists of a defined, though impure, mixture of bacterial components. The AVA is approved by the FDA but requires multiple injections and annual boosters.

The AVA and other vaccines are based on purified, native recombinant protective antigen sequences that include antibodies meant to neutralize anthrax holotoxin that have shown strong protection in animals with inhalation anthrax.

The U.S. government, to date, has funded more than $4 billion in anthrax vaccine development and commercial contracts.