BARDA cancels anthrax vaccine RFP/ DHHS

According to HHS, BARDA “determined that none of the vaccine developers submitting proposals could meet the Project BioShield statutory requirements of having a product ready for licensure within 8 years. In response to this development, BARDA will modify its approach to the advanced development of a next-generation anthrax vaccine.”

It is unclear why this happened, nor whether BARDA is moving away from next-generation anthrax vaccines (characterized by a series of product failures) into other anthrax therapeutics. The markets responded, with Pharmathene shares dropping 52% and EBS shares falling 8%.

My suggestion to BARDA is to consider an emergency stockpile of live, attenuated anthrax vaccine. The advantages of a safe, live vaccine could include: more rapid and cheaper production, more rapid development of immunity with only 1 or 2 inoculations, and broader immune protection.

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