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U.S. funds more anthrax vaccine research

Aug. 4, 2010 at 2:09 PM

PINE BROOK, N.J., Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is giving second-year contract funding for development of medication for treatment of anthrax infection following a biowarfare attack.

Elusys Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, said Wednesday the award for development of Anthim is from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The contract value is $40.6 million. The first-year award was $16.8 million, the company said. The potential value of the total 5-year contract could be as much as $143 million if the government exercises all contract options.

"We are delighted by our continued progress with Anthim's development and BARDA's ongoing commitment to further support our efforts," said Elizabeth Posillico, president and chief executive officer of Elusys. "Anthim consistently provides significant survival benefit in the treatment of anthrax infection in animal models and is well-tolerated when administered to human subjects.

"Anthim has the potential to deliver considerable therapeutic benefit to Americans infected with anthrax in a bioterrorism emergency."

Elusys described Anthim as a high-affinity, humanized and deimmunized monoclonal antibody that targets the protective antigen of B. anthracis and neutralizes the lethal effects of anthrax toxins.

It is being developed for prevention and treatment of inhalational anthrax following a biowarfare attack, it said.

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