Archive for the ‘Rockville’ Category
Written by Staff and Wire Reports
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 01:28
Key news developments will affect shares of these two companies who help meet the critical needs of the United States and its allies by developing and commercializing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical weapons.
The two companies which waited until late after hours on Monday to announce that the Biomedical Research and Development Authority had informed them of some negative news.
After hours on Monday, PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE Amex: PIP) a biodefense company specializing in the development and commercialization of medical countermeasures against chemical and biological threats, announced that the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has canceled its request for proposal (RFP) for Recombinant Protective Antigen Anthrax Vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile (RFP BARDA 08-15).
PharmAthene was informed of BARDA’s decision during a meeting late Monday afternoon with BARDA representatives. BARDA issued a press release after the close of the securities markets announcing that it will cancel RFP BARDA 08-15 because it did not believe vaccine developers submitting proposals in response to the request for proposal (RFP) could have product ready for FDA licensure within 8 years.
In similar news…
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE:EBS) announced today that it has been advised by the Office of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) that the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of rPA vaccines has been cancelled in favor of a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for rPA vaccine development. According to BARDA officials, BARDA took this action after a technical evaluation panel determined that none of the vaccine developers submitting proposals could meet the Project BioShield statutory requirement of having a product ready for licensure within 8 years.
Simultaneously, BARDA issued an amendment to BAA 09-34 to enable companies to submit proposals to obtain development funding for rPA vaccine candidates. The due date for all proposals is February 1, 2010. During a meeting with company officials today, BARDA strongly encouraged Emergent to submit a proposal to this BAA. Emergent intends to submit its proposal by the end of this year.
While the decision by BARDA has no impact on the company’s $400 million procurement contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the manufacture and delivery of 14.5 million doses of BioThrax® into the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). Investors are still likely to react negatively to the news.
After selling dies down, there may be a bounce trade opportunity for EBS followers since the company feels that “BioThrax remains a critical and long-term countermeasure for the US government,” said Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions. “In addition, based upon encouragement by the USG, we believe our rPA vaccine is well-positioned to obtain a development contract under this BAA. Our anthrax franchise solidifies Emergent as a leader in the development and supply of anthrax medical countermeasures.”
BioPort is the only FDA-licensed producer of the anthrax vaccine.
|Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and CEO of Emergent BioSolutions Inc., speaks March 9 in Sage Hall. Kevin Stearns/University Photography|
On March 9, MBA students taking International Political Risk Management, a course taught by Elena Iankova, a lecturer at the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, heard Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and CEO of Bioport’s parent company, Emergent BioSolutions Inc., discuss the hurdles his firm faces in making and marketing its products abroad.
His guest lecture was titled “Managing International Risk in the Bio-Defense and Telecommunications Industries.”
Using his own company as an example, El-Hibri outlined six areas of risk in international business, among them export/import regulations, politics at home and abroad and financial issues. Much of his talk focused on political issues ranging from export regulations to how to deal with foreign governments.
One hurdle: when BioPort sought to export its anthrax vaccine, BioThrax, the U.S. Department of Defense claimed the vaccine was primarily of military importance and should therefore fall under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Under ITAR, export of the vaccine is controlled by the Department of State and a license is required for each sale. BioPort succeeded in arguing that its product was non-military in nature and therefore belonged under Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Exportation under EAR is controlled by the Department of Commerce and has far fewer restrictions.
El-Hibri seemed to take such challenges in stride. “Obviously,” he said, “the U.S. government is interested in vaccines, especially bio-defense vaccines.” It controls which countries vaccines can be exported to and may use them as a bargaining chip in its own deals with foreign ministries of defense, he commented. “They like to throw our vaccine into the mix and say, ‘Listen, if you buy one more tank or one more fighter jet … we’ll throw in 10,000 doses of anthrax vaccine,'” he said. But such giveaways create problems for companies like BioPort by reducing demand for its products in foreign countries.
Some uncontrollable variables that affect the demand for vaccines are: Politics within the foreign country, the country’s relationship with the United States, its finances, its fears about external threats and regional geopolitics, noted El-Hibri.