Why This Anthrax Vaccine Study Is Getting a New Cash Injection

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Altimmune Inc. (NASDAQ: ALT) shares jumped on Wednesday after the company announced that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is modifying its existing anthrax vaccine development contract with Altimmune by awarding an additional $3.7 million.

The increase in funding is directed primarily toward a Phase 1b clinical trial of NasoShield to evaluate alternative methods of intranasal dosing in humans.

In 2018, BARDA awarded Altimmune $2.5 million for further NasoShield development, including a comparison of different methods of administration of the vaccine in preclinical models.

The data from this study demonstrated that a simple modification to the method of intranasal dose administration had a dramatic impact on the resulting immunogenicity. These results suggest that the 2018 Phase 1 study of NasoShield in healthy adults might have shown a more robust immunogenic effect had a modified administration method been employed.

The planned Phase 1b clinical trial will evaluate modified methods of intranasal dosing on NasoShield safety and immunogenicity and is expected to start in 2019.

Dr. Vipin K. Garg, Ph.D., president and CEO of Altimmune, commented:

We are extremely pleased that BARDA has made this additional funding available for a clinical study to advance this potentially transformative anthrax vaccine. BARDA has been an outstanding partner for NasoShield and we are excited to continue its development with their support.

Shares of Altimmune traded up about 7% Wednesday morning to $2.28, in a 52-week range of $1.70 to $36.25. The consensus price target is $8.60.

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