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HHS Orders 1.7 Million Smallpox Antiviral Doses

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has ordered 1.7 million additinal doses of a smallpox antiviral drug at the cost of $433 million, manufacturer SIGA Technologies announced on Friday (see GSN, Jan. 14).

The doses of ST-246 ordered through the department's Biomedical Advanced Research And Developmental Authority would be delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile. The New York-based company also plans to produce another 300,000 doses with monies from previous Health and Human Services contracts.

The five-year BARDA contract contains options for increasing the smallpox antiviral order to a maximum of 12 million more doses for a total contract of about $2.8 billion (SIGA Technologies release I, May 13).

However, SIGA said on Sunday it had received word from the Health and Human Services Department that biotechnology firm Chimerix had submitted a formal protest against the BARDA decision to award the smallpox antiviral production contract to the New York firm. "Work under the contract will be suspended until further notice pursuant to the applicable protest rules," according to a press release.

Protests filed with the Government Accountability Office are usually concluded within 100 days, the release says. Health and Human Services intends to argue in support of the existing contract, SIGA added (SIGA Technologies release II, May 15).

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