While San Diego-based Pfenex's primary focus isn't on vaccines, the company gained a big backer in the space Monday with the announcement that the U.S. government has agreed to work with the biotech on its anthrax vaccine candidate for bioterror protection.
The news out of Biota Pharmaceuticals has been a steady drumbeat of defeat, setbacks and layoffs for the past two years. And this week the dirge grew even louder with the announcement that the biotech company is slashing the bulk of its staff several weeks after it lost a key government contract to support its work on a new flu drug.
PPD has signed a contract with the U.S. government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, agreeing to design and conduct clinical trials for products that protect against bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.
Theraclone Sciences was hoping for a federal cash infusion to keep its anti-influenza antibody program rolling, but a denial from the government will force the biotech to handle Phase II on its own.
Chapel Hill, NC-based Cempra has won a $58 million contract from BARDA to develop its lead, late-stage antibiotic for bioterror threats aimed at a pediatric population.
In the first collaboration of its kind, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has brought on GlaxoSmithKline to help the federal agency develop new antibiotics to combat bioterrorism and growing resistance to the drugs.
Antibiotics maker Achaogen announced today that it has landed a $60 million contract option from the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to further the development of its drug plazomicin to treat patients with serious Gram-negative bacterial infections.
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals ($BCRX) blamed recent setbacks for the company's decision to ax 50% of its workers, according to a release this morning. Its restructuring plans come a week after BioCryst and Presidio Pharmaceuticals jettisoned a $101 million merger agreement that would have brought BioCryst new assets in the sizzling hepatitis C field.
After this latest setback, the company's chief medical officer says that it is "unlikely" that the biotech will continue development work needed for U.S. approval.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), dismissed a biotech industry proposal for using government bonds rather than contracts to fund projects to advance vaccines and other meds for conditions resulting from bioterrorism, Bloomberg reported.