US cancels anthrax vaccine contract

Government won't have its desired stockpile of recombinant-based vaccine for at least another three years

John Dudley Miller
Dec 20, 2006
The US government has cancelled its $877.5 million contract with VaxGen, Inc. for a new anthrax vaccine, likely delaying by at least three years the creation of a recombinant-based stockpile sufficient to immunize 25 million Americans.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said this week that it had terminated its two-year-old contract with VaxGen, a small San Francisco area biotech company, because the vaccine was unstable, breaking down too quickly over time for the government to allow it to be tested in clinical trials. VaxGen was two years behind in the delivery schedule for the vaccine, which called for the first third of the supply to be delivered by the end of this year, according to Marc Wolfson, an HHS spokesman. Because the company did not deliver any vaccine, it never received any payment. "The $877.5 million is still in the US Treasury," Wolfson told The Scientist....

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