New name, new building, new agreement.
NightHawk Biosciences, which was known as Heat Biologics until last week, has finalized a contract with the Canadian government to supply its anthrax treatment.
Anthim will be added to the country’s national stock for C$7.9 million. The agreement will help strengthen the supply of inhalation anthrax treatment for use against a potential biological threat.
NightHawk cited the CDC report which says that if a bioterrorist attack were to occur, the bacteria that causes anthrax (bacillus anthracis) would be the most likely to be used, as the spores can be easily found in nature and produced in the laboratory.
The United States signed another deal with longtime anthrax vaccine supplier Emergent BioSolutions for $400 million, to add the vaccine to its own national stockpile for the next 18 months. Emergent largely built its name on the back of its anthrax vaccine in 2001, when it worked to provide the government with access to the only FDA-approved vaccine following the outbreak of attacks , Anthim – a monoclonal antibody drug – received approval in 2016. The mAb binds to the protective antigen component of anthrax toxin and prevents the entry of anthrax toxin into sensitive cells, thus preventing the spread of the toxin throughout the body and the consequent tissue damage that leads to death. The drug is supplied in single-dose vials and administered intravenously.
“We are delighted to announce this first international contract to supply Anthim to Canada, which is particularly timely given the growing global geopolitical uncertainty and emerging threats,” said CEO Jeff Wolf. “This agreement follows our recent acquisition of Elusys, which complements our broader biodefense initiatives. We are focused on expanding Anthim’s sales overseas and this first international contract is an important validation of our strategy.
The Durham, North Carolina-based biodefense and immunotherapy drug developer will bear its new moniker beginning in May. It changed its name after moving from Nasdaq to NYSE, an exchange that lists fewer drug developers. He also came as he finalized the acquisition of defense-focused biotech Elusys Therapeutics a few days earlier. Anthim landed $350 million in R&D contracts from the federal government and is expected to get another $80 million.
With the rename and acquisition, NightHawk is moving manufacturing of Anthim to its planned 500,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Manhattan, KS. Its Scorpion subsidiary will also open a location in San Antonio, TX in the second quarter of this year. The new sites will reduce NightHawk’s reliance on CDMOs, the company said, at a time when there is a desperate need for more CDMO capacity.