Emergent BioSolutions Inc. has announced that it has completed the acquisition of all assets and rights related to a recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine product candidate and related technology from VaxGen, Inc.
Recent improvements to the rPA vaccine, specifically related to stability, suggests that it is well positioned to be a leading candidate for an award under a request for proposal (RFP) recently issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The vaccine candidate has completed one Phase 2 clinical study. This RFP is designed to meet the government’s stated goal to procure 25 million doses of an rPA anthrax vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). HHS has indicated that any awards under this RFP are scheduled to be granted in late 2008.
The acquisition of this rPA vaccine candidate, and the pending RFP, have no effect on Emergent’s $448 million contract with HHS for the delivery of 18.75 million doses of BioThrax® (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed), the only FDA approved vaccine for the prevention of anthrax disease, into the SNS. Emergent continues to manufacture and deliver doses of BioThrax in accordance with this multi-year agreement.
The company intends to manufacture this new rPA anthrax vaccine, as well as BioThrax, in its recently constructed, large-scale manufacturing facility at its Lansing campus.
The acquisition of the rPA vaccine candidate further solidifies Emergent’s well established franchise of anthrax countermeasures, which now includes:
BioThrax®, the only FDA-approved vaccine to prevent the infection of anthrax. Nearly 2.0 million men and women of the United States military have received the vaccine, and HHS has procured more than 28 million doses of BioThrax for the SNS;
rPA 102, a recombinant anthrax vaccine candidate, which is composed of a purified protein with an alum adjuvant and is designed to induce antibodies that neutralize anthrax toxins;
AVP-21D9, a human monoclonal antibody product candidate being developed as an intravenous treatment for patients who present symptoms of anthrax disease; and
AIG, a polyclonal anthrax immune globulin product candidate, which is derived from human plasma from individuals who have been vaccinated with BioThrax.
Data reviewed to date relating to the rPA vaccine candidate suggests that the steps taken to address a prior stability issue affecting the vaccine position the product for continued development toward regulatory approval and to be a leading candidate for the HHS procurement contract of 25 million doses under the recently issued RFP.
Under the terms of the asset acquisition, Emergent BioSolutions paid VaxGen $2 million upon execution of the definitive agreement and may be obligated to pay up to an additional $8 million in milestone payments, plus specified percentages of future net sales.