U.S. Funds Development of Freeze-Dried Smallpox Vaccine

The United States expects to pay Danish biotechnology firm Bavarian Nordic up to $40 million to adapt its smallpox vaccine so that it can be freeze-dried, the company announced yesterday (see GSN, Aug. 25).

The new contract would fund preclinical and clinical studies on efforts to create a freeze-dried version of Bavarian Nordic's Imvamune vaccine. It would also be used to "validate the new freeze-dried manufacturing process," according to a press release

A freeze-dried smallpox vaccine could be kept longer than the existing liquid form that must be frozen for storage, Bavarian Nordic said. "Additionally, this would help overcome the challenges with the cold-chain logistics and storage," it added.

Smallpox no longer exists in nature but has been identified as a top bioterrorism threat (see GSN, Dec. 11, 2008).

To date, Bavarian Nordic has received $680 million in contracts for Imvamune from the U.S. government. Washington has ordered 20 million doses of the vaccine in its liquid-frozen form and has the option of buying another 60 million (Bavarian Nordic release, Nov. 17).

November 18, 2009
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The United States expects to pay Danish biotechnology firm Bavarian Nordic up to $40 million to adapt its smallpox vaccine so that it can be freeze-dried, the company announced yesterday (see GSN, Aug. 25).