Investing in biodefense companies, II

Request for Proposals for an “Anthrax Recombinant Protective Antigen [rPA] Vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile [SNS].”

The solicitation outlines a requirement to procure 25 million doses of an rPA anthrax vaccine. PharmAthene believes that the second-generation rPA vaccine meets the mandatory qualification criteria for responding to this RFP. Based upon historical awards for similar RFP’s, PharmAthene believes that this award could have a potential value of between $350 and $400 million and is preparing a response to this solicitation. 

The company is also developing a third generation rPA vaccine. The objective of the third generation program is to develop an rPA anthrax vaccine that can maintain stability for three years at 35º C and induce protective immunity in two or fewer doses. The development of PharmAthene’s enhanced vaccine candidate has been supported by an NIH grant since 2005. A government published Request for Proposal was issued on 21 September 2007 seeking proposals for a third generation rPA vaccine, reaffirming the US government’s commitment to rPA based vaccine development. The primary objective of the program is to develop an rPA-based anthrax vaccine that can be stored, transported and used without the need for a conventional cold chain — an important advantage for civilian bio-defense deployment within the Strategic National Stockpile. The U.S. government has indicated that they will award contracts to fund the development of third generation rPA vaccine candidates in September of 2008 

PharmAthene is developing an Anthrax Monoclonal Antibody, Valortim in conjunction with Medarex (MDRX). Valortim is a fully human monoclonal antibody designed to protect against inhalation anthrax and is to be given intra-muscularly. It targets a protein component of lethal toxins produced by the protective antigen. PharmAthene and Medarex completed a Phase I study suggested that Valortim could provide protection against anthrax for up to two months, comparable to what is observed in previously immunized individuals. Valortim has received Fast Track and Orphan Drug designation from the Food and Drug Administration, indicating that the FDA will facilitate the development and expedite the regulatory review of the product. Total government funding committed to Valortim now exceeds $24 million. 


PharmAthene trades as PIP on the AMEX.  It is currently around $2.6, and the all time high was around $8 in 2Q 2006.

Elusys is a privately held company that is developing targeted immunotherapies for the treatment of infectious disease using high affinity antibodies and bispecific Heteropolymer