The US Government has awarded a new contract valued at up to $40m to Bavarian Nordic for the development of a freeze-dried version of its IMVAMUNE smallpox vaccine.

A freeze-dried formulation of IMVAMUNE will increase the shelf life of the vaccine compared to the liquid-frozen formulation and will also simplify the cold-chain logistics and storage process.

The contract will allow Bavarian Nordic to validate a new freeze-dried manufacturing process and the associated pre-clinical and clinical studies to support the advanced development of a freeze-dried version of the vaccine.

Bavarian Nordic president and CEO Anders Hedegaard said that the contract demonstrates the continued commitment from the US to support the development of advanced medical countermeasures.

“This also strengthens our confidence that the option to procure up to an additional 60 million doses of IMVAMUNE under the ongoing RFP-3 contract will be exercised,” Hedegaard said.

Including this contract, the US Government has awarded more than $680m worth of contracts to Bavarian Nordic for the development and procurement of the vaccine.