HHS contracts for initial 20 million doses of company’s Imvamune® vaccine.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a BioShield contract to Bavarian Nordic to manufacture and deliver a smallpox vaccine designed to be safer than currently stockpiled smallpox vaccines.

The five-year contract for 20 million doses of the company’s Imvamune® smallpox vaccine is valued at more than $500 million, with options that, if exercised, extend the value to $1.6 billion and the performance period of the contract. HHS is procuring the vaccine for the protection of individuals considered to be at risk for exposure to smallpox. The contract options allow for the government to procure up to an additional 60 million doses and would support additional clinical studies for extending the license to include HIV-infected, pediatric, and geriatric populations.

Imvamune is based on the Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) virus, which is also a live virus but one that does not replicate in the body and is expected to be safe for both healthy as well as immunocompromised individuals, the company reports. Additionally, it says, the MVA virus cannot be accidentally transferred to others who might be immunocompromised because it is administered by injection.

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