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Project BioShield: HHS Purchases Anthrax Countermeasure from Elusys Therapeutics

Anthrax countermeasure for BioShieldThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) will purchase an anthrax treatment for $25.2 million from Elusys Therapeutics Inc. of Pine Brook, New Jersey, as part of the department’s ongoing national preparedness efforts.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of ASPR, provided funding under Project BioShield for continued manufacturing and purchase of the treatment called Anthim or obiltoxaximab. The product will be delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving medical countermeasures, such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, for use in a public health emergency.

Anthim is an antibody-based therapeutic that can complement antibiotics by neutralizing the toxins produced by Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that cause anthrax disease. The treatment was developed through a public-private partnership with Elusys and BARDA after early research funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

In March 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Anthim for use in patients suffering from inhalational anthrax. BARDA used Project BioShield to fund the first delivery of Anthim to the Strategic National Stockpile in 2016. Project BioShield funds are used to purchase critical medical countermeasures, which often have no commercial market and are needed to protect against national security threats.

HHS’ comprehensive approach to meet immediate public health needs in an anthrax attack includes the acquisition of vaccines, antibiotics and therapeutics.  While antibiotics can be effective in treating bacteria like anthrax, antibody-based therapeutics treat the toxins released by the anthrax bacteria that lead to illness and death.

Source: HHS press release

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