The U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has received funding of up to $6.9 million from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for a program entitled “Inhalational ciprofloxacin for improved protection against biowarfare agents”.
The inhalational ciprofloxacin formulations used in this program are Aradigm’s proprietary investigational drugs Pulmaquin and Lipoquin.
Dstl, with key sub-contractors including Aradigm Corporation, will conduct research relating to the efficacy of the two drugs in animal models of the following agents:
- Francisella tularensis (tularemia)
- Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis)
- Burkholderia mallei (glanders)
- Coxiella burnetii (Q-fever)
The most likely method for infection with biowarfare agents is via the pulmonary route. The main advantage of the inhaled liposomal ciprofloxacin approach is that it delivers the antibiotic rapidly and directly in high concentrations to the respiratory tract – the area of primary infection – and the liposomal formulation retains it there over a prolonged period of time.
The liposomal formulation also facilitates intracellular uptake, essential to treat these life-threatening intracellular infections.
“We have been very pleased with the earlier compelling efficacy findings with Pulmaquin and Lipoquin in rodent models of inhalational tularemia, plague and Q-fever. We have also accumulated a substantial amount of animal and human safety data to date,” said James Blanchard, Aradigm’s Principal Scientist. “The funding from DTRA will enable us to validate and expand this approach with the goal of providing broad-spectrum prophylaxis and treatment against multiple bioterrorism threats.”
The total potential funding provided to Dstl is $3.2M for the base period and $3.7M for the option period. The initial funding released is $1.7M.