Pfenex Inc. this week announced that Leidos Holdings, Inc. (formerly SAIC) has awarded the biotechnology company a subcontract in support of the development of an anthrax vaccine containing its recombinant protective antigen (rPA) and a novel, immune-enhancing adjuvant.
The prime contract was awarded to Leidos by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to improve the efficacy of both anthrax and West Nile virus vaccines by formulating them with a novel adjuvant that stimulates immune responses.
Under the subcontract with Leidos, Pfenex will provide its rPA, which will be evaluated in various formulations with a selected adjuvant to optimize the breadth and longevity of immune responses generated against anthrax.
This is the third government-funded contract awarded to Pfenex for the development of a next generation anthrax vaccine based on rPA produced in its platform technology, Pfenex Expression Technology.
“We are pleased to be awarded this contract as we expand our pipeline of rPA-based vaccine candidates in an effort to develop an optimal anthrax vaccine,” stated Bertrand C. Liang, Pfenex’s Chief Executive Officer. “Pfenex Expression Technology™ has once again demonstrated its ability to efficiently produce high-value antigens and advance the development of next generation biodefense vaccines.”