U.S. to buy $165 million worth of anthrax medicine from HGS

Published 22 June 2006

After fourteen years, HGS has their first product sale; the company is experimenting in anthrax therapies and the U.S. government is buying; 20,000 doses to be exact

Historic day for Rockville, Maryland-based Human Genome Sciences: The U.S. government will buy $165 million worth of experimental treatment for anthrax infection from the company. The company is fourteen years old, and this is the firm’s first product sale. The purchase of 20,000 doses of Abthrax under the government’s $5.6 billion Project BioShield program aims to help the government stockpile a variety of anthrax therapies, including vaccines and drugs such as Abthrax, which would be administered after exposure to the lethal substance.

The U.S. government could have purchased 100,000 doses under the BioShield contract, and it has also been considering another anthrax treatment from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada-based biotech company Cangene. For now, federal health officials have settled on Abthrax. Cangene is not expected to be awarded a contract today, according to people briefed on the deal.

HGS must still win approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but Abthrax could be used before that in case of an emergency. The drug was proven safe in testing of 105 people, but testing of several hundred more will be required. How much that testing will eat into revenue from the contract is unclear.