Bavarian Nordic May Seek Government Funding for Anthrax Vaccine
Bavarian Nordic A/S (BAVA), the Danish company that’s developing a prostate-cancer treatment, may seek government funding to help develop its anthrax vaccine, said Chief Executive Officer Anders Hedegaard.
Bavarian Nordic, based in Kvistgaard, may ask governments, starting with the U.S., to fund its MVA-BN anthrax vaccine should pre-clinical data justify further testing, Hedegaard said in an interview at a conference in Stockholm today.
The company is using its MVA-BN technology to combine vaccines for anthrax and smallpox and offer protection against two major biological threats. The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded studies of Bavarian Nordic’s Imvamune smallpox vaccine, already supplied to the U.S. government, which stockpiles it for emergency use.
The company is also developing its Prostvac therapeutic vaccine for prostate cancer and is enrolling patients for a late-stage clinical trial.
While the company is seeking a partner for Prostvac, there is “not as much time pressure” after the company raised 650 million kroner ($115 million) last year in a share sale to fund the trial, Hedegaard said. Still, he remains optimistic about securing a licensing agreement.
“There’s no doubt there is interest in immunotherapy,” Hedegaard said.
Sales of U.S. drugmaker Dendreon Corp. (DNDN)’s Provenge prostate- cancer therapy, part of a new class of drugs that trigger the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells as if they were a virus, more than tripled in the fourth quarter, the Seattle- based company said Jan. 5.
“Provenge will pave the way for clinicians who will adopt immunotherapy,” Hedegaard said.
Prostvac will be available as an “off-the-shelf, ready-to- use” treatment, offering more convenience for doctors compared with Provenge, Hedegaard said. The two drugs may also complement each other, and Prostvac has also been shown to slow disease progression in combination with hormone therapy in mid-stage trials, he said.
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