ELUSYS & BIODEFENSE
ANTHRAX & BIOTERRORISM
Anthrax – Number One Bioterrorism Threat
Anthrax or Bacillus anthracis has long been regarded as the number one bio-terror threat by the Department of Homeland Security due to its ability to be easily weaponized and distributed over large metropolitan areas by planes and ventilation systems. Following the 2001 anthrax attacks, the US government recognized the need to develop more effective therapeutic countermeasures to protect Americans from a large-scale attack. Antibiotics were used to treat infected individuals but 50% of patients with advanced symptoms still did not survive. In 2003, the US Government established a $5.6 Billion reserve fund for the stockpiling of countermeasures against threats of bioterrorism. Importantly, anthrax has been designated a significant material threat by the Department of Homeland Security prompting the need to stockpile more effective countermeasures.
Anthim® – Anthrax Anti-Toxin Therapeutic
Anthim is a monoclonal antibody that has been shown to be highly effective in the prevention and treatment of anthrax infection in animal models. A single dose without the use of antibiotics can protect over 75% of animals exposed to a lethal dose of bacterial spores – the highest observed efficacy in studies of symptomatic monkeys. The key to Anthim’s effectiveness is its ability to neutralize the “Protective Antigen” protein produced by anthrax bacteria during an infection which prevents the protein from binding to cells and, thereby, inhibits the formation of deadly toxins. It is the toxins produced by anthrax that are responsible for the bacteria’s high mortality.
Anthim provides an effective, new approach to both protect against and treat anthrax infection. Antibiotics and vaccines have limited effectiveness against anthrax infection once lethal toxins are being produced. Toxin formation begins 12-24 hours after exposure and death generally occurs within 5 days after onset of symptoms. Anthim is at an advanced stage of development and work is progressing on definition of the final manufacturing process and conduct of late stage non-clinical and clinical testing.
Anthim is well-positioned for purchase by the US Government for the Strategic National Stockpile as it is highly effective both as a post-exposure prophylactic therapy and as a treatment for symptomatic patients. Anthim has been formulated at a high concentration to enable administration either intravenously or intramuscularly if more rapid administration is needed.
A summary of Anthim’s indications and characteristics
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