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Human Genome Sciences wins $165M anthrax drug contract

Baltimore Business Journal
by Neil Adler
June 20, 2006

The federal government will purchase 20,000 doses of an experimental drug made by Human Genome Sciences to treat anthrax infection. The contract is worth $165 million, although it is contingent on the product getting approved by health regulators.

The Department of Health and Human Services says delivery of the drug, called ABthrax, is expected to begin in 2009.

This large contract follows an initial HHS award to Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences in September for a small amount of ABthrax for testing and analysis.

Both contracts come under the government's $5.6 billion Project BioShield program.

Human Genome Sciences will complete the additional clinical testing required to support the filing of an application with the Food and Drug Administration requesting licensure. Assuming approval, the company will manufacture 20,000 treatment courses.

"We believe that ABthrax offers a significant step forward in the treatment of inhalational anthrax disease," said Tom Watkins, president and CEO of Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ: HGSI), in a statement. "HGS has demonstrated the efficacy of ABthrax in multiple preclinical studies in relevant animal models and its safety and tolerability in a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy adults. With our proven ability to scale up production in our manufacturing facilities, we expect to deliver ABthrax to the strategic national stockpile in 2008."