The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a $24.8 million contract to a NewLink Genetics subsidiary to support the development of rVSV?G-ZEBOV GP (Ebola Zaire) vaccine candidate, the designated V920.
The funding will be used to support manufacturing facility readiness, manufacturing process qualification activities and to carry out clinical studies to aid the regulatory approval of the V920 vaccine.
It includes an additional $51 million contract options to be exercised by BARDA and has a previously existing $76.8 million contract for the development of V920.
Merck holds the exclusive worldwide license for research, development, manufacturing and distribution of the rVSV?G-ZEBOV GP (Ebola Zaire) vaccine.
In April, the company secured a $21.6 million funding from BARDA for the development of the Ebola vaccine candidate.
NewLink Genetics infectious disease division chief scientific officer and chief operating officer Thomas Monath said: “This new contract issued by BARDA will enable accelerated full-scale production of V920 once it is approved, and is a critical step in helping to make this vaccine available to the health care community as they work to control epidemics and protect medical workers and others at high risk.”
The rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP vaccine was originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and licensed to a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics.
In 2014, Merck licensed the Ebola vaccine from NewLink Genetics in order to apply Merck's vaccine expertise to help enhance the development of the vaccine candidate.