The US Department of Health and Human Services announced a $5.8 million contract toward the development of a third Ebola vaccine, according to a press release.
The department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will provide the funding, expertise and technical assistance to Profectus BioSciences in an effort to accelerate development and production of the vaccine. The 1-year contract can be extended to 13 months and $8.6 million in funding.
Along with manufacturing work, Profectus BioSciences will conduct animal safety studies for the vaccine. If successful, the company is expected to seek FDA investigational drug approval.
“We are pushing hard to advance the development of multiple products as quickly as possible for clinical evaluation and future use in preventing or treating this deadly disease,” Robin Robinson, PhD, BARDA director, said in the release. “Our goal is to close the global gap in vaccines and therapeutics needed to protect the public health from Ebola as highlighted by the epidemic in West Africa.”
The vaccine’s development will expand on early National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases research, as well as Defense Department animal studies in which a single dose of the experimental vaccine resulted in 100% protection in non-human primates. BARDA said it will support further Ebola vaccine advancement.
NIAID-supported phase 1 clinical trials of two other investigational Ebola vaccines are in progress, with phase 2 trials expected for 2015.
As of Oct. 16, there have been 8,997 cases and 4,493 deaths in the current Ebola outbreak, WHO reported.