Durham antiviral developer Chimerix said Monday it has received $13 million in federal funds to develop a treatment for smallpox that could be used if there was a bioterror attack against the U.S.
The $13 million award from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, brings the total value of Chimerix’s research contract with the agency to $81.1 million since 2011.
BARDA is planning to stockpile the antiviral, called brincidofovir, as a national security countermeasure against a potential attack or accidental release of smallpox. Chimerix, which employs 105 people, expects the stockpiling contract could total $435 million over five years. It expects BARDA to announce that contract this month.
Currently there is no antiviral available to treat smallpox infections. Brincidofovir is a broad spectrum antiviral that has shown effectiveness against several potentially fatal viruses, including Ebola.
Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980 by the World Health Organization following a global vaccination campaign, but the virus is believed to be in existence in undeclared stocks.