FhCMB nabs up to $9.9M from NIH for anthrax vaccine research

Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology could receive up to $9.9 million in funding from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop the next generation of anthrax vaccines.

FhCMB will advance candidate vaccine components and technologies to speed up immune response after an outbreak--intentional or natural--of Bacillus anthracis. The company will work on everything from biomass generation to agro infiltration and protein purification, wrapping up with an option to conduct a Phase I clinical trial.

The company will receive $1.76 million the first year, and up to $9.9 million depending on contract options made. Sweden's Isconova AB, a biotech specializing in developing and commercializing adjuvants for vaccine production, will partner in the project.

"Combining the FhCMB antigen with the Isconova adjuvant has the potential for an improved vaccine," Vidadi Yusibov of FhCMB said in a statement.

Anthrax is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Bacillus anthracis. Attempts have been made to weaponize anthrax.

This isn't the first time NIAID has shown financial interest in developing an anthrax vaccine, either. In October, the institute doled out a contract worth $6.4 million to the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency to develop a next-generation anthrax vaccine. The project will be valued at $22.6 million if all milestones are met.

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