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Rockville biotech wins $448M contract for anthrax vaccine

A quick view of anthrax/biothrax's safety profile:

Pregnancy - Category D (evidence exists of harm caused to fetus, including spontaneous abortions/miscarriages)
Deaths from vaccine: A potential 44 that's admitted
Serious Adverse Events: 12.5% (meaning life-long disability)
Systemic reactions: 5-35%

http://www.bizjourn als.com/baltimor e/stories/ 2007/09/24/ daily18.html

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. won a three-year contract worth up to $448 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to beef up the national stockpile of a vaccine for anthrax.

The Rockville-based biopharmaceutical company is delivering 18.75 million doses of BioThrax through 2010 to the government agency for $400 million.

The company said it anticipates delivering a third of the doses, or 6 million, by the end of the year.

If Emergent (NYSE: EBS) gets regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration to extend the drug's shelf life from three to four years during the three-year contract, the company will get an additional $34 million from the agency. The company submitted the application in 2006.

Under the contract, Emergent also will receive $11.5 million if the company gets a new pre-exposure prophylaxis indication that would allow the health agency to combine antibiotics with BioThrax in the event someone is exposed to anthrax.

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded the money through the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund created by Congress in May 2004 following the anthrax scares in the fall of 2001.

Since 2005, Emergent has already provided the health agency with 10 million doses of BioThrax valued at $243 million.

Emergent lost $4.9 million in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with a $3 million loss a year ago. Second quarter revenue was $23 million, more than double the $11 million in the year ago quarter. The company's 2006 sales of BioThrax was $148 million.