HHS's BARDA grants $30M Ebola vax development contract to NewLink
- The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a $30 million contract to BioProtection Systems.
- All of the clinical development, testing and manufacturing of the experimental rVSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine will be handled by the firm, a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics.
- NewLink and Merck's Ebola vaccine candidate is currently in phase 1 testing, with a 330-person phase 1B study currently underway.
All of the efforts underway to combat Ebola represent an unprecedented collaborative push between the government and the pharmaceutical industry. The $30 million in funding from BARDA represents one of many investments the U.S. government (as well as others) are making to stop this highly infectious virus in its tracks.
Given the sense of urgency, the goal is to expedite R&D, with phase II/III trials starting in early 2015. The Ebola death toll in West Africa has now topped 7,000 people.