Pfenex, a biotechnology company offering recombinant protein expression, and the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), have modified its prime contract and exercised an option associated with their existing contractual relationship that began in July 2010. This modified agreement extends the prime contract and increases the funding to support the development of a recombinant protective antigen (rPA)-based anthrax vaccine based on rPA produced in the company’s platform technology, Pfēnex Expression Technology. The increase in funding of approximately $8.0 million brings the total funding available to approximately $23.9 million over the course of the contract if all options are exercised.
During the contract’s base period, Pfenex demonstrated that a strongly immunogenic, stable, and protective form of rPA could be expressed and recovered from the fermentation of a strain of P. fluorescens engineered to produce rPA. The exercise of this option allows for the completion of preclinical studies, implementation of analytical methods, and cGMP manufacturing.