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GEN News Highlights : Jun 26, 2012

BioFactura Scores Nearly $2M for Ebola Therapy and VRP Vaccine Production

Grants will fund biodefense mAb R&D and manufacturing platform.

BioFactura was awarded nearly $2 million in grants by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation’s (TEDCO) Joint Technology Transfer Initiative (JTTI). The $1.8 million DoD award will fund development of a scalable cell culture process for producing virus-like replicon particle (VRP) vaccines against high-threat pathogens. The $75,000 JTTI award will support BioFactura’s work on a mAb-based therapeutic for Ebola virus. The firm says the project will in addition validate the utility of its Rapid Human Antibody Generation (RHAGe™) platform for biodefense applications.

Both projects will be carried out in partnership with long-term collaborators at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). “The award of these two grants is key to advancing BioFactura’s innovative drug development technologies in the context of biodefense medical countermeasures," comments Darryl Sampey, BioFatura’s president and CEO. “Success in these projects will yield critical products for the protection of our military personnel and provide a wealth of data supporting BioFactura’s technology as it relates to commercial drug and vaccine development."

BioFactura’s central RHAGe system has been developed as an end-to-end  system for the discovery and commercialization of fully-human mAb candidates. The platform hinges on the firm’s VeriCyte Discovery Platform for the isolation of fully-human therapeutic mAbs from human B cells, and its StableFast Biomanufacturing Platform for the rapid development and production of lead mAb candidates.

BioFactura is currently focusing its R&D in the biodefense field. The firm’s lead program in collaboration with the USAMRIID is focused on the development of a monoclonal antibody-based therapeutic against smallpox.