BARDA grants Australia's Biota $231M flu vaccine contract

Just a month after granting major contracts to VaxInnate and Novavax, BARDA is giving $231 million to Australia-based Biota for the company's flu treatment laninamivir. The drug is a long acting neuraminidase inhibitor that Biota says can both treat and prevent flu infections in fewer doses than currently-available neuraminidase inhibitors. Laninamivir is already approved in Japan but is several years away from approval in the U.S.

The five-year, milestone-based contract will provide U.S. based manufacturing and clinical data to support an NDA for laninamivir, according to a company release. This is just one more move in the U.S.'s multi-pronged approach to bolstering flu prevention and treatment in the U.S. Previously the HHS has funded egg and cell culture-based production, but the agency is now backing new technology for faster, more effective treatments.

"The award provides visible recognition of the potential medical value of laninamivir to the world's major market," said CEO Peter Cook. "The BARDA contract will be a major contributor to a timely introduction of the product and will create the opportunity to significantly develop Biota's business in the USA."

- check out Biota's release