HPA awarded £4m contract by US government to develop anthrax vaccine

Will be delivered by an intra-nasal spray device instead of an injection

The US Government has awarded the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) a contract worth £4m (US$6.5m) to develop a next-generation anthrax vaccine, which will be developed at the HPA's facilities in Porton, Wiltshire.

The project could be worth up to £14m ($24m) if all project milestones are met, the HPA said.

The deal has been agreed through the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The HPA will combine its expertise with anthrax vaccine antigens with NanoBio’s adjuvant technology enabling a vaccine to be delivered in fewer doses than currently required and by an intra-nasal spray device instead of an injection. NanoBio is a privately held US biopharmaceutical firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is focused on developing vaccines based on its proprietary nanoemulsion technology, NanoStat.

Dr Roger Hinton, principal investigator and head of development and production at HPA Porton, said: ‘We are delighted to achieve this award, which is recognition of our world-leading status in the field of anthrax vaccine research and development – we already manufacture anthrax vaccine for the UK and our expertise in this area is essential for the success of this programme.’

The vaccine against anthrax is only recommended for those at highest risk, for example, people working with animal hides (especially imported hides), in abattoirs or laboratory staff who may be handling the organism.

The HPA said the funding would enable it to compete with other organisations developing similar vaccines.

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