Emergent inks deal to manufacture and sell Ridgeback's Ebola drug in the US

A partnership between the U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics helped secure an FDA approval for Ebola treatment Ebanga back in December of 2020.

Now, in an effort to expand access to the drug, Ridgeback and the government have turned to a familiar manufacturing partner—Emergent BioSolutions.

Thursday, Emergent revealed that it will be responsible for the manufacture, sale and distribution of Ebanga in the U.S. and Canada. The partnership will ensure that Ebanga remains available to patients in endemic countries free of charge through Ridgeback’s compassionate use program.

Ebanga is a monoclonal antibody with antiviral activity that's administered in a single injection. The drug was originally developed by the National Institutes of Health and was licensed to Miami biotech Ridgeback, which provided funding and operational support for clinical testing. BARDA added funding for late-stage manufacturing and regulatory efforts.

Ebanga is one of two antibody drugs approved in a span of two months to treat those with Ebola. Regeneron’s Inmazeb was endorsed by the U.S. regulator in October of 2020.

Meanwhile, the first Ebola vaccine blessed by the FDA was Merck’s Ervebo, which secured its nod in December of 2019.

Infectious disease specialist Ridgeback is best known for its collaboration with Merck in developing COVID-19 treatment Lagevrio, which generated $3.2 billion in sales in the first quarter of this year.

For its part, Emergent is recovering from an ill-fated run as a manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines. Errors made by Emergent at its Baltimore facility—where it was producing vaccines simultaneously for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca—forced the company to discard up to 400 million doses because of possible cross-contamination.