Emergent scores a DoD award to evaluate its chikungunya vaccine in the field
Emergent BioSolutions is looking to make progress with its chikungunya vaccine and has received a $10 million US government grant to help it along.
Emergent announced that it has been handed a research award from the Department of Defense’s Congressional Directed Medical Research Programs to evaluate the efficacy of its single-dose chikungunya virus vaccine candidate.
The planning phase will be done in collaboration with the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFIRMS) and other academic partners to kick off a “post-approval field efficacy study.” The study is to be done in areas with active chikungunya virus transmission.
The $10 million award will fund both the planning and clinical study phases.
“We look forward to combining our product development expertise with the capabilities of AFRIMS in chikungunya epidemiology and field studies, and of our academic partners in infectious disease modeling and efficacy trial design, to find ways to address chikungunya disease, a public health threat for which no vaccine or treatment exists,” Emergent chief medical officer Chris Cabell said in a statement.
The study, which is dubbed as a multi-center Phase IIIb study, will look to show how effective the vaccine is in preventing the disease, as well as see how the “surveillance framework” will work using chikungunya as a model of an “emerging pathogen.”
The vaccine itself is currently being investigated in two Phase III trials and received breakthrough therapy and fast-track designation from the FDA in 2020 and 2018, respectively. It also received a priority medicines designation from the EMA in 2019.
Emergent’s push to further evaluate the vaccine comes at a time when other vaccine makers are giving greater attention to the chikungunya space. Vaccine producer Valneva is gearing up for market entry of its chikungunya vaccine candidate, where it expects to complete the rolling BLA submission for the vaccine by the end of the year.
The move also comes as Emergent is making further gains in the smallpox space. Emergent grabbed the global rights for Tembexa, for $238 million, from the North Carolina-based biotech Chimerix in October, along with Chimerix’s 10-year BARDA contract to produce 1.7 million doses of the drug. The value of the contract sits at $680 million as well as a “product procurement” that is valued at $115 million.