GlaxoSmithKline has signed a new four-year contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for the provision of its inhalation anthrax treatment, raxibacumab. The U.S. government is purchasing the medicine as a counter measure against a potential bioterrorist attack.
GSK will provide 60,000 doses to the U.S. government over four years, at a value of approximately $196 million. This forms part of a broader five-year base contract. Raxibacumab was approved by the FDA in December 2012 for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with inhalation anthrax due to Bacillus anthracis in combination with appropriate antibacterial drugs, and for prophylaxis of inhalation anthrax when alternative therapies are not available or are not appropriate. It has not been approved outside of the U.S.
Since 2001, the CDC has classified anthrax as a Category A biothreat, as it poses a severe threat to public health and safety. Anthrax is one of the most likely agents to be used in a bioterrorist attack as its spores are easily found in nature and can be produced in a lab. It can be released into the environment quietly and remain there for a long time.
"We have been collaborating with BARDA for a number of years and raxibacumab now is an important part of the U.S. government's emergency counter measures against bioterrorism,” said Sheri Mullen, vice president of immunology and rare diseases, U.S. Pharmaceuticals, GSK.
Mary Kerr, global commercial lead for infectious diseases at GSK, said, "As a pharmaceutical company, we believe we have a responsibility to support governments in protecting their citizens against infectious diseases. This agreement highlights the ongoing successful collaboration between GSK and BARDA and is just one example of our commitment to working with governments globally to fight major public health threats."
Earlier this year, GSK and BARDA entered into a portfolio-based agreement for up to five years under which BARDA agreed to support the development of new antibiotics by GSK to fight antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism. This marks the first time that HHS has provided a private pharmaceutical partner the flexibility to move funding around their portfolio of drug candidates.
GSK is committed to working in partnership with governments worldwide to provide emergency preparedness measures and help protect citizens against a number of different health threats including bioterrorism, flu pandemics and malaria.