In May Siga won a $433m (€298m) US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) contract but was forced to suspend work two days later after Chimerix filed a protest. Now, after the contract was modified, Chimerix has dropped its protest.
“The contract modification deletes the option for BARDA to purchase up to 12m courses of [smallpox antiviral] ST-246 beyond the 1.7m courses to be purchased under the base contract”, said Siga in a press statement.
Having won this concession Chimerix has withdrawn its protest, ending the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) review that began when the complaint was filed. Chimerix welcomed the decision and said the modification “serves the nation's overall interests”.
"We are pleased to have reached a rapid resolution of the GAO protest so that all parties can continue with the important work of developing smallpox antivirals", said Kenneth Moch, CEO of Chimerix.
Siga can now resume work on the contract that supports the final stages of ST-246 development. Activities covered by the contract include development of techniques for scale-up manufacturing and a Phase III safety study. Siga will also manufacture 1.7m doses over the next five years.
However, the option for BARDA to purchase an additional 12m doses, bringing the contract’s value up to $2.8bn, has been removed. Removal of the option means that, despite being able to resume the contract, shares in Siga have continued the slide that began at the end of May.
If Siga is to supply the 12m doses it will have to win a second contract. “This agreement allows BARDA the opportunity to competitively procure a second smallpox antiviral, consistent with the US government's long-stated strategy of having two smallpox antiviral drugs”, said Chimerix.