BARDA extends contract with Pfenex for development of anthrax vaccine

Pfenex, Inc., a protein production company, announced on Tuesday that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has exercised an option to extend its contract with Pfenex to develop a recombinant protective antigen from anthrax.

BARDA is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The authority began the contractual relationship with Pfenex in July 2010. The contract supports the development of a robust Pfenex Expression Technology based production strain and process for producing the rPA from anthrax in bulk.

Under the terms of the contract, Pfenex will continue developing the rPA-based anthrax vaccine from rPA produced in Pseudomonas fluorescens. During the base period of the contract, Pfenex showed that a stable, immunogenic and protective type of rPA could be recovered and expressed from the very efficient fermentation process of a P. fluorescens strain that had been engineered to produce the antigen.

"We are pleased with the results and progress provided by Pfenex's recombinant platform technology to the production of a next generation anthrax vaccine," Bertrand C. Liang, the chief executive officer of Pfenex, said. "The exercise of this option by BARDA enables Pfenex and BARDA to continue our successful partnership sharing a common objective to develop an anthrax vaccine with a process capable of achieving the goals of the Strategic National Stockpile for the U.S. government, including production, shelf life, and administration improvements."

The company's Pfenex Expression Technology is based on the P. fluorescens microorganism that produces reagent proteins, research proteins, innovator biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars.