Through a contract with SIGA Technologies, Inc., the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has exercised a procurement option to obtain approximately $112.5 million worth of the oral TPOXX smallpox treatment this year.
TPOXX is an orally administered and IV formulation antiviral meant for treatment of human smallpox disease as caused by the variola virus. Approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018, it’s a novel small-molecule drug of which the U.S. government maintains a regular supply through its Project BioShield.
“This option exercise, in combination with international orders, highlights the global importance of smallpox preparedness,” Phil Gomez, CEO of SIGA, said. “With the option exercised under the 19C BARDA contract, SIGA has received orders valued at a total of approximately $123 million for the year to date for the procurement of oral TPOXX.”
The newly exercised option was part of a September 2018 contract between SIGA and BARDA that consisted of a $51.6 million contract with $577 million in total options available. They cover procurement and development related to both oral and intravenous formulations of TPOXX.
While the highly contagious and deadly disease known as smallpox has been essentially eradicated since 1980 as a result of a widespread immunization campaign, small samples still exist for research purposes. While a vaccine exists, routine vaccination does not due to the low risk of exposure compared to side effect risks. Government stockpiles remain, however, in case of the virus’s reemergence as an agent of biological warfare.