Firm wins $65 million contract for botulism treatments

first_img The contract is the third one that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded Xoma to develop botulism antitoxins, the company said in a Sep 9 statement. In 2005 Xoma was among the first companies to receive a contract through Project BioShield, according to a previous report. Xoma reported that  its NIAID contracts cover the development of human monoclonal antibody products targeting the three most toxic serotypes of botulinum toxin, types A, B,and E. The company also said these human antibody products are expected to be safer than existing animal-derived antibodies, which it said cause serious immune reactions in some patients and vary unpredictably in their efficacy. See also: Sep 11, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Xoma Ltd., a Berkeley, Calif., pharmaceutical company, recently announced that it received a $65 million multiyear federal contract to fund work on botulinum antitoxins, one of which it hopes to put through safety and efficacy tests starting in 2009. Clostridium botulinum, which produces botulinum toxin, a nerve poison, is among the category A agents that experts say bioterrorists would most likely try to use. However, most botulism cases are caused by tainted food or contaminated wounds. Sep 9 Xoma press release Steven Engle, Xoma’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement that the contract shows the US government’s support of novel therapies that address natural, accidental, or intentional infections from pathogens and their toxins. “Since initiating its biodefense program in 2005, Xoma has used its innovative antibody technology to develop better and safe solutions,” he said. “We plan to continue working with the government’s biodefense development efforts toward future stockpiling initiatives.” Xoma said if studies show that the company’s first botulism antitoxin candidate is safe and effective and government funding continues, it would file the paperwork needed to produce the treatment for the Strategic National Stockpile. The new NIAID contract will cover the next 6 years of botulism antitoxin development, the company said. May 10, 2005, CIDRAP News story “NIAID awards first Project BioShield grants”last_img

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