ANNAPOLIS, Md., Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department is speeding up funding for development of a pre- and post-exposure treatment against nerve agents.
The funding, the result of exercising a contract option, is for PharmAthene Inc.'s rBChE nerve agent medical countermeasure program but is contingent on "the achievement of key milestone activities."
PharmAthene, a bio-defense company, said rBChE is a recombinant form of human butyrylcholinesterase, a natural protein found in minute quantities in blood and which acts like a sponge to absorb toxins such as nerve agents and certain pesticides before irreversible neurological damage.
Non-clinical studies in animals suggest rBChE has the potential to provide significant protection against chemical nerve agent poisoning when administered prophylactically and may increase survival when administered therapeutically.
"We believe this is a timely decision given the recent headlines about the potential threat of chemical weapons," said PharmAthene President and Chief Executive Officer Eric I. Richman. "PharmAthene is proud to be working in collaboration with the Department of Defense to address this threat and provide innovative new solutions for our partners."
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