USA Expands Anthrax Preparedness By $25.2 Million Dollars
The USA government announced it will purchase an anthrax treatment for $25.2 million, as part of the Health and Human Services (HHS) department’s ongoing emergency preparedness efforts.
Obiltoxaximab, known as Anthim, was FDA approved during March 2016 and is an antibody-based therapeutic that can complement antibiotics by neutralizing the toxins produced by Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that cause anthrax disease.
While antibiotics can be effective in treating bacteria like anthrax, antibody-based therapeutics, such as Anthim, treat the toxins released by the anthrax bacteria that can lead to illness and death.
Anthim carries an FDA Boxed Warning alerting patients and healthcare providers that this drug can cause allergic reactions, including a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.
Anthim will be delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving medical countermeasures, such as vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
The SNS contains more than $7 billion worth of medicines and medical supplies referred to as the ‘formulary.’
While many SNS items are readily available, some are not available in the commercial marketplace. To provide these items, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority helps develop new medical countermeasures to treat specific disease conditions.
The SNS is available when state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support ‘public health emergency’ response efforts, such as:
- Bacterial and viral diseases
- Pandemic influenza
- Radiation/nuclear emergencies
- Chemical attacks
- Natural disasters
Dr. Robert Kadlec, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response said, “This procurement of the treatment called Anthim or (obiltoxaximab) under Project BioShield ensures we continue to have treatment options for people exposed to anthrax and increases the number of courses available in an emergency.”
The treatment was developed through a public-private partnership with Elusys and BARDA after early research funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st-century health security threats. To learn more, visit www.phe.gov and www.medicalcountermeasures.gov.
Anthim was developed by Elusys Therapeutics, Inc. of Pine Brook, New Jersey, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.