Siga Technologies has been awarded a Department of Defense contract that could help the company expand its already lucrative role in supplying bioterrorism countermeasures to the federal government.
The multiyear deal starts with an initial award of $12.4 million and could ultimately be worth up to $19.5 million, the company announced on Monday.
The money will be used to support development work to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration for expanded use of tecovirimat, the company’s anti-smallpox drug.
Marketed under the brand name Tpoxx, tecovirimat is already approved for treating symptoms of the disease, which is considered a potential threat for use in bioterrorist attacks or biological warfare. Siga now hopes to gain FDA approval to use the drug as a form of post-exposure prophylaxis, a way of preventing smallpox in people who have already been exposed to the disease but have not been vaccinated.
The initial funding will support manufacturing material for clinical trials, initial preparations for a human clinical safety study and assembling regulatory filings, Siga said in a press release.
Headquartered in New York, Siga Technologies employs about 40 people, including 30 in Corvallis.
In 2011, the company won a $433 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to supply tecovirimat, the first and only FDA-approved treatment for smallpox, to the Strategic National Stockpile.
A lawsuit forced Siga to hand over roughly half of the money to a competing biotech firm and briefly forced the company into bankruptcy court, but the firm survived that challenge and rebounded.
Last September Siga was awarded another BARDA contract to deliver additional courses of tecovirimat, develop an intravenous version of the drug and provide additional services to the agency. That deal has a five-year base period valued at $52 million but could be worth as much as $629 million over 10 years.