Apr 8, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Iomai Corp., a biotechnology company that specializes in needle-free vaccines, announced today that it will receive a grant from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to fund preclinical development of a patch-based anthrax vaccine.The 1-year grant to Iomai, based in Gaithersburg, Md., will be in the form of a $943,856 cost reimbursement from the US Army Medical Research and Material Command, according to a press release from Iomai.Work on the vaccine will combine an antigen developed by Avecia Biologics, Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, with an Iomai adjuvant on a skin patch. Iomai said its next step would be to gauge the stability of the patch to see if it can be stored and shipped at room temperature.The current licensed anthrax vaccine, made by Emergent BioSolutions Inc., must be refrigerated and is given as a six-shot regimen over 18 months. The US government has been seeking a second-generation product to replace anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA), developed in the 1950s, with hopes that a newer product would require fewer doses and produce minimal side effects. Some military personnel have objected to AVA because of reported serious side effects.”The military has a clear need for an effective anthrax vaccine that can be stockpiled and shipped at room temperature, and we believe that Iomai has the scientific know-how and the manufacturing ability to meet that need,” said Stanley C. Erck, Iomai’s president and chief executive officer, in the press release.Iomai says it has developed techniques for drying proteins, such as the anthrax vaccine, to allow administration with a patch the size of an adhesive bandage. The company says it has four other products using the protein-drying technology in its development pipeline; three are aimed at seasonal and pandemic influenza and the other at travelers’ diarrhea.On Apr 2, PharmAthene, an Annapolis, Md., biodefense company, announced that it had finalized its acquisition of the biodefense vaccine business of Avecia, Iomai’s anthrax vaccine partner. Iomai acknowledged the sale in its press release but did not give any details about how it would affect preclinical work on the anthrax vaccine patch.PharmAthene, in its press release, said it had acquired all of the assets related to Avecia’s vaccines business, including intellectual property rights to its recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine and plague vaccine, as well as government contracts relating to the vaccines that total $60 million.Avecia has completed phase 2 clinical studies of its rPA anthrax vaccine, according to PharmAthene. In February, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for proposals for an anthrax rPA vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), the company said in its press release. The HHS proposal request calls for a company to produce 25 million doses of anthrax vaccine.On Mar 24, the Wall Street Journal reported that the government’s anthrax vaccine contract could be worth more than $400 million.David P. Wright, PharmAthene’s president and chief executive officer, said in the press release that preclinical and clinical studies of Avecia’s anthrax vaccine show an antibody response and that it is safe and well tolerated.”If these results are confirmed in future studies, we believe this vaccine could prove to be a superior choice for procurement in the Strategic National Stockpile for civilian defense against anthrax threats,” he said.Federal officials have hit roadblocks in their efforts to add a second-generation anthrax vaccine to the national stockpile. In December 2006, HHS canceled an $877 million contract with VaxGen, a small biotechnology company based in Brisbane, Calif., after the company had problems with its vaccine’s stability and missed a deadline for starting a clinical trial.In October 2007, a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized federal anthrax vaccine procurement efforts, saying officials awarded the contract prematurely, had unrealistic expectations of VaxGen, and were confused about how the vaccine would be used.See also:Apr 8 Iomai press releaseApr 2 PharmAthene press release Oct 31, 2007, CIDRAP News story “GAO critiques anthrax vaccine procurement, management”
Denmark’s two biggest pension funds ATP and PFA have invested in the new Climate Awareness Bond (CAB) issued by the European Investment Bank (EIB), saying the move is at least in part to support the bank’s work to push the green agenda.The bank said it timed the €1bn bond issue was timed to coincide with the European Parliament’s (EP) approval of regulations on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, the EU Sustainability Taxonomy.In announcing the bond issue, the EIB also revealed its decision to extend the eligibility of its CAB to two additional lending activities – to research, development and deployment of innovative low carbon technologies, and to electric rail infrastructure and rolling stock, and electric buses.Lars Dreier Kristensen, senior portfolio manager at ATP, said that as a long-term sustainable investor, the pension fund promoted accountability and comparability in green finance. As part of this, he said that back in April 2019, the fund had put in a strong order for EIB bonds when the bank began CAB-documentation that was tuned to the EU’s taxonomy regulation.“With today’s extension of CAB-eligibilities, EIB is again spearheading best practice. Therefore our renewed support in the primary market,” Dreier Kristensen said.PFA said it invested DKK360m (€48m) in the EIB issue, while Dreier Kristensen told IPE that ATP – which now invests DKK26bn in green bonds overall – had made “a substantial investment” in the new bonds, without giving a figure.Christian Storm Schubart, senior portfolio manager ESG and Patrick Gorm Nielsen, portfolio manager at PFA Asset Management, said: “We are very supportive of the work that EIB is doing to push the green agenda as we are continuously looking for good investment opportunities where we can contribute to the transition to a low carbon economy.”AFP signs deal with eVestment, extending US data firm’s Nordic business gainsNorwegian private sector pension fund AFP has picked US data firm eVestment to provide services to help it monitor external managers and handle its data collection and review processes more efficiently, according to the US firm.This is the second Nordic pensions contract win flagged up by this month, following the gain from Sweden’s AP1 in early June.Frode Veiby, senior portfolio manager at the pension fund – which currently manages around $4.2bn (€3.7bn), according to eVestment – said AFP was “very excited” to use the eVestment platform.He said the provider had enough breadth and depth in its coverage, as well as the proprietary data and tools to make sure AFP could identify appropriate strategies to manage the fund.“Finding and monitoring institutional asset managers locally and around the world is important to our success in serving our pensioners,” he said.Jean-Philippe Quittot, the US firm’s managing director for EMEA, said pension funds increasingly needed to find managers locally, regionally and around the world that could meet their return, risk and asset mix expectations, and provide transparency in asset management selection and monitoring to their stakeholders.The US firm has said it is currently making particular efforts to increase sales in the Nordic region.PFA extends IT contract with NNIT as digitalisation growsIn other news on PFA, the fund has signed a new five-year deal with Copenhagen-based firm NNIT for IT infrastructure, operations and consultancy, according to the tech company.Morten Bruun Steiner, director of data and IT at the DKK688bn (€92.3bn) pension fund, said: “The new agreement creates a good foundation for our desire for increased standardisation of our infrastructure and thus supports our journey towards becoming even more digital and efficient in the way we work with customer experiences.”The new contract replaces the existing deal due to expire at the end of 2023, said NNIT which originally started providing services to PFA in 2009.The IT firm said the contract was estimated to be worth “a medium triple-digit million amount” in Danish kroner.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.
Antonio Conte will step down as Italy boss after this summer’s European Championships, Italian FA president Carlo Tavecchio has confirmed.Conte is widely expected to become Chelsea manager in the summer, with numerous reports suggesting that he has already put pen to paper on a three-year deal.The 46-year-old became Italy coach in 2014 following the resignation of Cesare Prandelli after Italy were eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage.Bologna coach Roberto Donadoni is said to head a queue of coaches including Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri, Swansea’s Francesco Guidolin and Walter Mazzarri under consideration as his replacement.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports