Bavarian Nordic may seek government aid for anthrax vaccine development

Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic A/S may seek government funding to develop its vaccine against anthrax.

The Kvistgaard-based company may request that governments, beginning with the U.S., fund its MVA-BN anthrax vaccine if pre-clinical data justifies further testing. Anders Hedegaard, the company's chief executive officer, made the statement during an interview on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports.

The company is utilizing its MVA-BN technology to combine smallpox and anthrax vaccines, offering protection against two biological threats. Studies for Bavarian Nordic's Imvamune smallpox vaccine were funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The U.S. currently stockpiles the vaccine for emergency use.

The company is also developing a therapeutic vaccine for prostate cancer called Prostvac. The company is seeking a partner for the drug and is enrolling patients for a late-stage clinical trial. According to Hedegaard, Prostvac will be available as a ready-to-use, off-the-shelf treatment that could potentially be used complementarily with the Dendreon Corporation's Provenge prostate-cancer therapeutic. Provenge is one of a new class of drugs that triggers the immune system of the body to attack cancer cells as if they were a virus. Sales of Provenge more than tripled in the fourth quarter.

"Provenge will pave the way for clinicians who will adopt immunotherapy," Hedegaard said, according to Bloomberg.

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