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U.S. to Buy Anthrax Treatment

Global Security Newswire

The U.S. government plans to spend $165 million on an experimental anthrax infection treatment to add to its emergency stockpile of WMD countermeasures, the Washington Post reported today (see GSN, May 8).

Human Genome Sciences Inc. of Rockville, Md., is expected today to announce the sale of 20,000 doses of Abthrax. The purchase is being made through Project Bioshield, the federal government’s $5.6 billion effort to build up stocks of various treatments, including vaccines and drugs, for exposure to chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological weapons.

The government has also been considering an anthrax treatment produced by Canadian biotechnology firm Cangene Corp. However, Cangene is not expected to receive a contract today, the Post reported.

Abthrax would likely be used following exposure to anthrax. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the product, but it could already be used in the event of an emergency.

Tests on 105 people indicated the drug is safe, but several hundred more will need to be tested. It is unclear how much the proceeds of the sale would go into the continued testing of the product (Michael Rosenwald, Washington Post, June 20).