Elusys awarded $50.2 million for anthrax treatment

Elusys Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, announced on Thursday that it has received $50.2 million in additional funding from the U.S. government for the advanced development of an investigational agent for treating anthrax.

ETI-204, also known as Anthim, is an antibody that targets a protective antigen of anthrax-causing Bacillus anthracis, neutralizing its lethal effects. The agent is being developed for the potential treatment of inhalational anthrax after a biological attack.

The additional funding was awarded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The Pine Brook, N.J.-based company previously received $57.5 million in funding as part of a five year, $143 million contract. The contract is meant to support Elusys in its attempt to gain licensure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for manufacturing, human safety trials and non-clinical effectiveness studies in animals.

"We are pleased that the U.S. government is continuing to support our efforts to advance ETI-204 through the final stages of our development program, including validation of our commercial manufacturing processes," Elizabeth Posillico, the president and CEO of Elusys, said. "We recently completed a clinical dose-escalation study and look forward to reviewing those data."

Inhalational anthrax is often fatal even if treated with antibiotics. ETI-204 may serve as a promising candidate to treat humans for inhalational anthrax.