Emergent BioSolutions, HPA announce botulinum vaccine collaboration

GAITHERSBURG, Md., and LONDON —Emergent BioSolutions and the British-based Health Protection Agency on Jan. 14, 2005, announced a two-year collaboration for the development of vaccines to prevent botulism.

Emergent BioSolutions and HPA, which have long-established capabilities in the prevention of botulism dating to the 1950s, committed to the sharing of technology and expertise to develop both toxoid and recombinant botulinum vaccines.

There is currently no licensed vaccine in the world to prevent botulism.

“This collaboration represents a significant move forward in the development of a vaccine to prevent the deadly disease botulism,” said Emergent BioSolutions Chairman CEO Fuad El-Hibri. “Botulism is ranked just behind anthrax and smallpox in terms of the threat it poses as a potential weapon of bioterror.”

“The deal with Emergent BioSolutions fits well with our corporate goal to realize value from the HPA’s intellectual assets through collaboration with industry for public health benefit and builds on our long history in the field of biodefense,” said David Rhodes, HPA’s head of business development.

Emergent BioSolutions and HPA have entered into a series of agreements, including license and development agreements, which provide for the development and commercialization of vaccines for the prevention of botulism.

Emergent BioSolutions has committed at least $2 million for the development of these products over a two-year period.

Botulinum toxin poses a major threat because of its extreme potency and lethality, as well as the need for prolonged intensive care among affected people.

Emergent BioSolutions Inc., formed in 2004, is dedicated to the research, development and manufacture of products that harness the immune system to treat and prevent disease. These include vaccines and related products for prophylactic and therapeutic use against common infectious diseases and biological weapons of mass destruction.

The Health Protection Agency is an independent body that protects the health and well being of everyone in England and Wales. The agency plays a critical role in protecting people from infectious diseases and in preventing harm when hazards involving chemicals, poisons or radiation occur. It also prepares for new and emerging threats, such as a bioterrorism or virulent new strains of disease.