The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics an $8.1 million base contract with future options totaling $5.2 million to support various development activities of the investigational rVSV-ZEBOV (Ebola) vaccine candidate. NewLink has exclusively licensed research, development and manufacturing of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine to Merck.
The rVSV-ZEBOV (Ebola) vaccine candidate originally was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and subsequently was licensed to a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics. In late 2014, Merck, known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada, licensed the vaccine from NewLink Genetics to apply Merck’s vaccine expertise to help accelerate the development of the vaccine candidate. Clinical studies of the rVSV-ZEBOV are ongoing.
“The new contract from DTRA is key to the continuing rapid development of this Ebola vaccine candidate,” said Dr. Charles Link, CEO and chief scientific officer of NewLink Genetics. “These funds will support studies of our Ebola vaccine candidate that we hope will demonstrate its safety in large rural populations.”