Durham-based drug developer Chimerix anticipates a $100 million federal contract in September that could top out at $435 million over five years and could bring the company to profitability.
The contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority was awarded in April and will be formally announced in September. Wall Street analysts have already factored the federal defense contact in their analyses and the company’s stock remained flat in midday trading at $52.75 a share, down 19 cents.
Chimerix, which employs 105 people, announced the update Thursday. The company also said it will report positive results from a test of its experimental antiviral, brincidofovir, on rabbits infected with rabbitpox.
BARDA is planning to stockpile brincidofovir for national security purposes against a potential bioterror attack with smallpox.
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If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for general use, Brincidofovir would be the first treatment for smallpox infection and “an important addition to the biodefense arsenal,” wrote William Blair analyst Y. Katherine Xu.
Currently there are two vaccines approved against smallpox but no antiviral agent to treat infections.
Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980 by the World Health Organization following a global vaccination campaign but “undeclared stocks are suspected to exist,” Chimerix said, noting that “the U.S. population may be susceptible to a bioterror attack with devastating consequences.”
BARDA is scheduled to purchase brincidofovir in September and continue for up to 60 months through 2020 with options to acquire up to 1.7 million course of treatment.
Xu wrote that “additional upside exists from potential stockpiling purchases from foreign governments and from extensions of the [U.S.] contract beyond 2020.”