AVI BioPharma signed three contracts with the DoD for the development of therapeutic drugs against potential bioterrorism agents using AVI's Neugene® technology. The agreements, including $2.66 million to develop antisense agents to treat ebola virus infections, $2.66 million to treat marburg virus infections, and $1.78 million to develop countermeasures for exposure to Bacillus anthracis and ricin toxin, were part of a previously announced budget allocation.
"We anticipate commencing research immediately with our collaborators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases," says Alan P. Timmins, president and COO of AVI. "Previous studies have shown that Neugene antisense therapeutics may be a viable approach to treating victims of these deadly infections and toxins."
The contracts are for work that AVI will undertake on three of the four programs included in a budget allocation as part of the 2006 defense appropriations act, as announced by the company in January 2006. That allocation totaled $11 million, of which the company expects to receive up to $9.8 million, net of government administrative costs. The fourth program, targeting dengue virus infections, is in the final stages of discussion.