In an effort to salvage the deeply troubled $5.6 billion Project BioShield program, Congress is scrambling to pass new legislation that would inject a fresh $1 billion into the project while establishing a central authority inside HHS to oversee the development of new vaccines. BioShield's single largest venture is its billion-dollar effort to develop a new anthrax vaccine at VaxGen. That project has been repeatedly held up and is now stymied by the FDA's refusal to allow human trials to get underway. HHS has also threatened to terminate the contract. Other projects, meanwhile, have been held up as developers struggle to push through programs the government can't pay for until they near approval. The government had thought its commitment to stockpile vaccines against a bioterror attack would gain the interest of large companies with deep enough pockets to fund research. But that formula has been a bust, as the big developers steered away from what looked like long odds on gaining short profits. The new money lawmakers are considering for Project BioShield would fund research, essentially acting as a billion-dollar venture capital outfit.
- check out the article on BioShield from The Washington Post
Project BioShield fails to deliver. Report
New bioterror bill could provide fresh funds. Report
VaxGen's vaccine program in doubt. Report