Emergent Biosolutions' latest product could make Ebola vaccines stronger - Technical.ly Baltimore

Business

Mar. 17, 2015 9:04 am

Emergent Biosolutions’ latest product could make Ebola vaccines stronger

The Gaithersburg-based company manufactured its MVA vector at a facility in Baltimore, underscoring the region's prominent role in the fight against Ebola.

A patient receives a dose of an investigational Ebola vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sept. 2, 2014.

(Photo by Flickr user NIAID, used under a Creative Commons license)

Even as the Ebola crisis fades in and out of the headlines, the quest to develop a vaccine against the virus continues. On Monday, officials announced another role that Baltimore’s burgeoning biotech community is playing in the development of an antidote to inoculate against the deadly virus.

A new vaccine candidate that was manufactured at a facility near Johns Hopkins’ Bayview campus is set up to be used in Phase 1 clinical trials of an Ebola vaccine in England.

Emergent Biosolutions’ candidate will be tested as a booster to a vaccine being co-developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and GlaxoSmithKline that is undergoing clinical trials at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute.

Emergent’s candidate, known as an MVA vector, is designed to strengthen immune system response to the vaccine. Results published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine recommended the vector as one of two options that could be used to bolster the existing vaccine.

Emergent believes using the booster along with the existing vaccine candidate could lead to a “strong and fast development path,” said Adam Harvey, the Emergent executive vice president who heads up the company’s biodefense division.

Ebola virus

Ebola virus budding from the surface of a Vero cell. (Photo by Flickr user NIAID, used under a Creative Commons license)

The World Health Organization fast-tracked clinical testing on an Ebola vaccine as the crisis in West Africa mounted in late 2014. The outbreak continues to generate world headlines, as the death toll surpasses 10,000 people. New cases continue to be reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone over the last two weeks, and an American healthcare worker who contracted the virus was admitted to the NIH Clinical Center in Rockville late last week.

Advertisement

While researchers and biotech companies had previously developed the science behind an Ebola vaccine, government funding to bring the medicine to trials was scarce. The urgency of the recent crisis brought new funding, which led existing Baltimore biotech companies like Emergent and Profectus Biosciences to bring their vaccine candidates forward. Along with the money, new partnerships — like Monday’s agreement between Emergent, GSK, NIH and Oxford — have been introduced that are designed to navigate the complicated regulatory landscape. The Baltimore-based University of Maryland Medical School has another such partnership with GSK and NIH to run trials in Mali.

For now, Emergent has only manufactured enough of the vaccine for the clinical trials, which is known as a “proof-of-concept” run. But Harvey said the facility at 5901 Lombard Street could produce more.

“The scalable [manufacturing] process has the potential to meet the demand for multi-million doses in a few months,” the company said in a statement.

The company recently received a $2 million loan from the state to expand the space, which the company said will provide room for 158 jobs over the next four years. Harvey said the company sees Baltimore as one of the country’s “centers for innovation,” and said the infrastructure and access to talent in the area is a reason the Gaithersburg-based company continues to invest in the region.

You must appreciate accurate, relevant and productive community journalism.  Support this sort of work from professional reporters with seasoned editors.  Become a Technical.ly member for $12 per month -30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

Biotech manufacturing center near BWI will have space to produce spinal muscular atrophy treatment

Genomics leader Illumina is opening a new center at University of Maryland BioPark

Paragon picks up more Md. manufacturing space in $18M deal with Novavax

SPONSORED

Baltimore

How law firm Nemphos Braue is guiding startups along the new business learning curve

Baltimore, MD 21201

14 West

Junior Database Administrator

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD

SmartLogic

Account Executive (Baltimore)

Apply Now
Baltimore

SchoolDuels

Vice President of Business Development

Apply Now

A trio of Baltimore institutions are forming partnerships with Baxter International

Johns Hopkins-founded startup developing blood test to detect cancer raises $110M

This University of Maryland program brings students inside health startups

SPONSORED

Baltimore

Building a data acquisition system? Don’t make this mistake

Baltimore

emocha Mobile Health

Software Engineer

Apply Now
Baltimore

RackTop Systems

API Guru

Apply Now
Baltimore

Osmosis

Front End Developer

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Baltimore

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!