US-based biotechnology company Emergent BioSolutions announced plans to develop and manufacture a treatment for Ebola virus at its East Baltimore manufacturing facility. The firm was awarded a federal contract valued at nearly $20 million.
Emergent will produce Ebola monoclonal antibodies, under a two year contract. The defense department's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has funded Emergent $19.7 million under the agency's Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing program.
Adam Havey, executive vice president and president of Emergent's biodefense division, said, "Emergent is pleased to work with BARDA on this contract, which reflects the government's commitment to enhancing public-private partnerships and, together, taking steps to achieve a state of readiness against emerging public health threats. We look forward to working collaboratively with the government to further this important program."
BARDA is comparing other pharmaceutical companies' Ebola antibodies to Mapp Pharmaceuticals' ZMapp.
It is the second major Ebola-related treatment to be manufactured at the Emergent facility. Last year, Emergent produced a booster shot used with a leading Ebola vaccine candidate.
Emergent will begin advanced development and manufacturing of the drug at its Baltimore Bayview facility, which is equipped with disposable manufacturing technology such as single use bioreactors that enable production of viral and non-viral products with a quick turnaround.
According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, there have been more than 27,000 cases of Ebola in the countries of countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as of July 12 since the outbreak began last year.