Emergent receives $75M from BARDA for anthrax vax supply

Nov. 29, 2023

Emergent BioSolutions has been granted a $75 million contract option by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for the aquisition of Emergent's newly licensed anthrax vaccine, Cyfendus.

Cyfendus, formerly known as AV7909, received FDA approval in July, as a two-dose anthrax vaccine for post-exposure prophylaxis in individuals aged 18 and above. The deliveries are slated to commence this year, with completion anticipated by the first quarter of 2024.

The partnership between BARDA and Emergent dates back to 2016 when they collaborated to support clinical development and manufacturing for the AV7909 vaccine. This included a phase 3 trial demonstrating safety and efficacy, leading to FDA approval in July 2023. The current contract option supplements previous procurements and aids U.S. biodefense preparedness efforts.

Back in August, Emergent underwent a strategic shift, reducing investment in its CDMO business and trimming its workforce by around 400 employees. The move was expected to save the company $19-21 million, contributing to an annual savings target surpassing $100 million. Operational cutbacks impacted the Baltimore Bayview facility, once a key player in the BARDA Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing network during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, challenges in recent years, including a publicized vaccine batch failure and FDA scrutiny, prompted Emergent to scale down operations at multiple facilities, including Rockville, Maryland, and Canton, Massachusetts. The company also eliminated the COO position, with Adam Havey departing by September 2023. Emergent's renewed focus centered on core products, including the Narcan nasal spray and its recently approved anthrax vaccine, following the sale of its travel health business earlier this year.