Congress has substantially revised the troubled Project BioShield, agreeing to funnel a billion dollars into the research arena as it finds new ways to fund biotech companies during the developmental phase. The action, which was passed by the House late last week and by the Senate four days earlier, is intended to rectify a problem in the program. When Congress passed the bill two years ago, it intended to pay for new therapies to counter a bioterror attack on delivery. But as big biopharmas took a pass (unimpressed by the potential profits to be had), a number of smaller biotechs were left struggling to push programs through to development. VaxGen has been handling the largest project to date, but it's billion-dollar effort to find a vaccine for anthrax was recently stalled when the FDA prevented human testing last month due to concerns about drug reliability. The government has extended its deadline to get human trials underway again to December 18.
- read the Washington Post article on the new funds
BioShield revamp adds $1B in research funds. Report
New bioterror bill could provide fresh funds. Report
Report: Project BioShield fails to deliver. Report
VaxGen to miss deadline for anthrax vaccine. Report