DTRA awards Ichor Medical Systems $11 million contract

Ichor Medical Systems announced on Tuesday that it was awarded a $11 million contract from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency to develop a broad vaccine against biodefense pathogens.

The four-year contract with the San Diego-based biotechnology company will fund an assessment of the immunogenicity in humans of a broad spectrum DNA vaccine candidate against three strains of equine encephalitis virus. Ichor will collaborate with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases to develop the vaccine against Venezuelan, eastern and western strains of EEV.

VEEV, WEEV and EEEV are considered Category B agents by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. EEV strains have also been reported in several countries including the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia. There are no effective EEV therapies currently available for treatment of the disease.

"We are excited to continue our collaboration with USMARIID in developing biodefense vaccines delivered with Ichor's TriGrid," Bob Bernard, the CEO of Ichor, said. "In addition to the direct progress made towards a multivalent EEV vaccine the proposed program will also contribute platform learning that can be applied to other infectious disease indications. Furthermore successful demonstration of effective multivalent immunization in humans would position the TriGrid favorably for use in other broad spectrum biodefense vaccine applications."

Ichor's TriGrid Delivery System is an integrated and fully automated device used for electroporation-mediated DNA administration in humans. In the Phase I clinical evaluation of monovalent and trivalent EEV DNA vaccine candidates, the candidates will be delivered with the TriGrid electroporation system to determine the best immunization conditions for advancing the product candidates.