Sep 9 CIDRAP News story “HHS funds work on new anthrax antitoxin” Sep 26, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Emergent BioSolutions announced today that it has received a $29.7 million contract from the federal government to continue work on another of its next-generation anthrax vaccine candidates. A next-generation anthrax vaccine would help the US military more easily inoculate troops. Soldiers in high-risk areas such as the Middle East typically receive six doses of BioThrax over 18 months, followed by annual boosters. The military has said a next-generation anthrax vaccine should ideally require fewer doses and have fewer side effects. Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi, Emergent’s president and chief operating officer, said in the statement that the grant is encouraged by federal support for its AV7909 anthrax vaccine candidate. “We look forward to continuing to work with the US government to advance all aspects of AV7909, as it pursues a multi-prong approach in responding to the ongoing threat of bioterrorism,” he said. On Sep 3, Emergent announced that it had won a $24.3 million federal contract for an anthrax monoclonal antibody treatment called AVP-21D9. In its statement today the company said it was also developing a polyclonal anthrax immunoglobulin candidate for intravenous treatment for patients who have anthrax infections. Emergent’s AV7909 anthrax vaccine consists of BioThrax (also known as Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed), plus an adjuvant called CPG 7909, licensed from Pfizer, Inc. A clinical trial of CPG 7909 added to BioThrax showed that anti-protective antigen (PA) titers increased sixfold and reduced the time to peak response from 6 weeks to 3 weeks compared with BioThrax alone, Emergent said in its statement. Also, the two doses of AV7909 elicited the same anti-PA antibody levels as three doses of BioThrax. See also: Sep 26 Emergent BioSolutions press release Of the 3-year contract, $24.9 million will cover the manufacturing of clinical lots, nonclinical safety and efficacy studies, and stability studies to determine if the vaccine can be stored without refrigeration, which is a key requirement for the new vaccine, Emergent said. The remaining $4.8 million would fund a phase 1 clinical trial if the company and the government exercise that option. Emergent, based in Rockville, Md., announced the contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in a press release today. The company makes BioThrax, the nation’s only licensed anthrax vaccine, and is also developing a recombinant anthrax vaccine and an anthrax monoclonal antibody to block the anthrax toxin.
BRYAN FAUST/Herald photoEarly in the Big Ten season, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team was 4-0 and all alone in first place. But the team’s mid-season losing streak, brought on by a trio of personnel losses, left Wisconsin with four losses and shut out of the conference title talk.However, the UW revival over the past week has brought the Badgers back to life in the conference race and suddenly four losses doesn’t look so bad. In fact, should Wisconsin end the season with four Big Ten losses, the Badgers would be guaranteed at least a share of the conference crown.”You know, it is what we kind of expected … four, five losses could win the Big Ten,” Ryan said. “And I know they say that every year, but it sure made a lot of sense to us.”As much as last week’s victories over Indiana and Penn State helped bring the Badgers back to life in the Big Ten race, Wisconsin has been very fortunate with how other teams around the conference have faired recently.Though the top teams in the Big Ten have shown they are all among the nation’s best, the “second-tier” schools have been flexing their muscles and delivering some surprising upsets.Illinois lost a jaw-dropper to Penn State at home on Feb. 4. Four days later, Northwestern emerged victorious over current Big Ten front-runner Iowa. Michigan and Indiana have both lost three straight, while Minnesota has won three of its last four, including knocking off Michigan State at the Barn last Saturday.All the upsets have led to the Big Ten being maybe the most balanced conference in the country.”There’s another team, Minnesota, I forgot to mention with the experience. They had a lot back,” Ryan said. “There’s no security in the [league].”When asked about how favorable UW’s schedule is down the stretch, Ryan refused to look further ahead than the team’s next game at the Kohl Center.”All we know is we’re playing one of the hottest teams right now coming up Wednesday,” Ryan said, speaking of Ohio State, which has won four straight and six of seven.Rest for Butch proves fruitful: Sophomore forward Brian Butch played his best game at the college level in UW’s 82-62 dismantling of Penn State on Saturday. Butch tallied 23 points and 12 rebounds, both career-highs, and made 11-of-15 shots, including eight of nine in the second half.”When you experience success and you can do it again, keep doing it until they stop you,” Ryan said. “Brian did a pretty nice job of taking advantage of the circumstances.”The performance came a game after Butch missed his first start of the year and played a season-low eight minutes against Indiana, due to a lingering left ankle injury.”And, OK, so it’s tender. For those that have ever played on a sprained ankle, you know what that’s like,” Ryan said of the injury.Ryan then noted that he believed Butch’s limited minutes against Indiana played a role in his outstanding performance in State College.”Not playing that many minutes against Indiana, I think, helped him, because at practice he was a little better on Thursday than he is after some other Wednesday games because he didn’t have the pounding,” Ryan said, comparing Butch’s week to that of an injured football player, who has a week before the next game. “Getting some rest in there in the middle of the week, as I mentioned before, gives it more like the football look, where you have a whole week to recover. So I think that helped him.”When Ryan was asked if Butch could improve his strength and bulk, the fifth-year head coach expressed hope that the former McDonald’s All-American could do so, but that it was hard to quantify exactly how big or strong Butch will get.”My idea in life is that you can always get better,” Ryan said. “I don’t think there is a limit. It’s going to depend on what he does in the offseason.”