PharmAthene, Inc. (AMEX: PIP), an Annapolis based biodefense company, announced that they have been awarded $5.7 million by the Department of Defense (DoD) to continue research of its nerve agent medical countermeasure program.
The contract will allow PharmAthene to evaluate mammalian cell-based manufacturing system for rBChE for a period of 18 months. The company indicated that if the research is successful, it could increase production, flexibility, and be cost-effective.
Dr. Thomas Fuerst, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, stated, "We have considerable experience in the production and evaluation of recombinant BChE. This contract builds upon the body of knowledge we have established over the years with a specific focus on the expression of rBChE using a novel mammalian cell line that has been used for the advanced-stage bioproduction of other recombinant proteins with considerable FDA oversight and review. PharmAthene's commitment to innovation has enabled us to continue to develop and advance novel medical countermeasures, based on 21st century biopharmaceutical processes. These contracted studies will advance the state of the art of rBChE technology and, we believe, will position us to better meet the needs of our customer, the U. S. government. PharmAthene's approach is consistent with the government's initiative to support the use of flexible, state-of-the-art technologies to meet the needs of both the military and civilian strategic stockpiles. We are excited about the potential for a mammalian cell-based manufacturing system, which may yield improvements in a second generation product profile, and look forward to a productive collaboration with the DoD in the conduct of these studies that are key to the advancement of important new prophylactic and therapeutic medical countermeasures."