Investing in biodefense companies, II

FDA by mid-2008 to support authorization for delivery to the Strategic National Stockpile, and is manufacturing ABthrax on schedule to begin delivery by fall 2008. 

  • Anthrax Immune Globulin [AIG]:  Emergent Biosystems, Inc. is developing anthrax immune globulin [AIG] as a single dose intravenous therapeutic for treatment of patients with symptoms of anthrax resulting from the release of anthrax toxins into the body. If successfully developed, it can be used as a monotherapy or in conjunction with an antibiotic.  
  • Companies 

    Desai lists a few (though by no means all) companies active in the anthrax area: 

    Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) has several programs in addition to ABthrax. These include Albuferon (Hepatitis B), LymphoStat B (lupus), and TRAIL receptor antibodies (oncology). It also has collaboration with Glaxo SmithKline (GSK). It trades on the NASDAQ as HGSI with price around $5.5. The all time high was around $100 in 2001. 

    BioPort/Emergent BioSolutions (EBS) has several different programs in addition to BioThrax and AIG. It has vaccines for typhoid, hepatitis B, Streptococcus group B, Chlamydia, Botulism, and Meningococcus (the last with Sanofi-Pasteur). It trades as EBS in the NYSE.  Present price is around $10.50, 2 year low was $4.73 (12/07) and two year high was $17.40 (1/07).

    PharmAthene (PIP) is developing a second-generation rPA anthrax vaccine consists of recombinant Protective Antigen (rPA) adsorbed onto Alhydrogel and packaged as a liquid filled syringe for intramuscular injection. It is a highly purified protein that offers the potential for improved safety and convenience. It is intended to protect individuals before or after exposure to the anthrax bacterium. Preclinical studies suggest that two or three doses administered several weeks apart should be sufficient to induce protective immunity followed by an annual booster shot. Phase II clinical trials have been completed and showed that the vaccine is safe, well tolerated and induces an immune response in humans. In preclinical studies this vaccine has demonstrated the capability to protect non-human primates against a lethal aerosol challenge of the anthrax Ames strain. 

    In 2002 PharmAthene U.K. was awarded a multi-year contract, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease [NIAID]. Total government funding to date for the rPA anthrax program is approximately $134 million. On 29 February 2008 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a formal solicitation by