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GSK wins anthrax contract from US government

Signs $196m deal for its monoclonal anti-toxin raxibacumab

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)The US government is to purchase 60,000 doses of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) inhalation anthrax treatment raxibacumab over the next four years to help guard against a potential bioterrorist attack.

The deal will be worth around $196m to GSK, which earlier this year signed a five-year agreement with the government for the development of new antibiotics to fight antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism.

The latest deal is with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which forms part of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Sheri Mullen, GSK's US VP of immunology and rare diseases, said: “We have been collaborating with BARDA for a number of years and raxibacumab is now an important part of the US Government's emergency counter measures against bioterrorism.

“Through this agreement, we are proud to be helping protect US citizens against such threats.”

Raxibacumab was approved in December 2012 by the FDA, which has granted it orphan designation as a treatment for adults and children with inhalation anthrax due to Bacillus anthracis in combination with appropriate antibacterial drugs.

It also has a US licence as a preventative treatment for inhalation of anthrax when alternative therapies are not available or are not appropriate, but has not been approved outside of the US.

Anthrax has been classified as a Category A biothreat in the US since 2001, when five people were killed in the weeks after the September 11 attacks when they came into contact with letters containing anthrax spores.

It is still thought to pose a severe threat to public health and safety as one of the most likely agents to be used in a bioterrorist attack, due its ease of production and release.

Mary Kerr, global commercial lead for infectious diseases at GSK, said: “As a pharmaceutical company we believe we have a responsibility to support governments in protecting their citizens against infectious diseases.

“This agreement highlights the ongoing successful collaboration between GSK and BARDA and is just one example of our commitment to working with governments globally to fight major public health threats.”

In May the firm signed a first-of-its-kind agreement with BARDA for a five-year, portfolio-based agreement under which the Authority will support GSK's development of new antibiotics to fight antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism.

This deal, which could be worth up to $200m to GSK, is the first time that HHS has provided one of its private pharmaceutical partners with the flexibility to move funding around their portfolio of drug candidates.

Article by
Dominic Tyer

23rd September 2013

From: Research

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