Government-backed autoinjector specialist AktiVax shutters 'substantially all of its operations,' lays off 70

Despite scoring a number of federal contracts in recent years, it’s lights out for government-backed rescue autoinjector maker AktiVax.

Late last month, AktiVax, also known as Aktiv Pharma Group, informed the state of Colorado that “the company must shut down substantially all of its operations,” citing “unexpected circumstances.” In turn, the company is mothballing three manufacturing facilities and laying off around 70 employees.

The plant closures and layoffs are set to affect a facility in Broomfield, Colorado, plus two sites in Fort Collins, according to a letter sent to a state official.

The “entire plants” are to be closed, and AktiVax expects the action will be “permanent.”

Jobs that will be affected run the gamut from patent prosecution and purchasing agents to engineers, technicians, quality control microbiologists and human resources executives.

AktiVax’s business primarily revolves around its autoinjector ARAI, which the company says is the only autoinjector with single-hand, single-step activation.

AktiVax has won several federal contracts in recent years, with the Denver Business Journal noting the company has publicly announced more than $275 million in government pacts since 2018.

Back in the spring of 2020, for instance, AktiVax was awarded $24.5 million for a U.S. government project to develop an autoinjector treatment for exposure to nerve agents. The five-year pact put AktiVax on deck to develop and win approval for a scopolamine hydrobromide autoinjector for several nerve agents.

In a press release at the time, the company noted emergency nerve agent treatment was well suited to autoinjectors given the speediness and ease of use of the delivery format.

Meanwhile, in 2018, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority granted AktiVax $15.5 million to develop a manufacturing-approved production line for the ARAI autoinjector. The company notes it completed that project in Dececember 2019.

AktiVax’s most recent contract appears to be from October 2022, the month the company won a $45 million contract to supply pralidoxime chloride autoinjectors for the Strategic National Stockpile. That deal, also focused on nerve agent antidotes, was set to reach a value of upward of $220 million over seven years.

At the time, the company said it was also working with another unnamed drugmaker to develop a reconstitution autoinjector for a long-acting formulation of the popular opioid overdose reversal agent naloxone.