Cellerant lands $153M BARDA contract for ARS program

San Carlos, CA-based Cellerant Therapeutics--a 2005 Fierce 15 company--is getting a big boost from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which has inked a $153 million contract to develop a new adult stem cell therapy for acute radiation syndrome. Cellerant will receive up to $63.3 million in the two-year base period to cover development costs for CLT-008 and up to $89.9 million in three option years, if BARDA exercises it.

CLT- 008 is in a Phase I study in patients undergoing cord blood transplants for the treatment of hematological malignancies. It's designed to rapidly produce neutrophils and platelets in vivo and facilitate long-term engraftment in patients undergoing bone marrow or cord blood transplantation. This is Cellerant's second contract with BARDA, following its move to proffer $11 million for the same development program in 2008.

BARDA's on something of a roll these days, pushing new biodefense programs on several fronts. Just yesterday Achaogen--which was in the 2009 class of Fierce 15 companies--announced that it had nailed a $64 million BARDA contract to support the company's lead antibiotic ACHN-490.

 "We are delighted to have been awarded this new contract from BARDA," said Ram Mandalam, Ph.D., president and CEO of Cellerant Therapeutics. "We believe Cellerant is at the forefront of the development of a solution for ARS and we share BARDA's commitment to developing CLT-008 as an effective countermeasure to support our biodefense interests."

- take a look at the Cellerant release