Treatment could be used for other blood disorders and complications of cancer

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BARDA funds development of new way to treat illness from acute radiation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) today awarded a $153 million contract to Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc. of San Carlos, Calif., to continue developing a new way to treat an illness caused by exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation which can damage the body’s cells – the type of radiation that would come from a nuclear blast.

Under the contract, the company will continue development of a medication called CLT-008 that uses a special kind of cells called myeloid progenitor cells. The medicine potentially could be used to treat the illness known as neutropenia, an abnormally low number of white blood cells. In addition, the treatment potentially could be used for other blood disorders and complications of cancer in which blood cells and platelets need to be replenished.

The body has progenitor cells that can grow into any kind of blood cell the body needs. CLT-008 is being developed to support and add to the patient’s own progenitor cells.

The contract to Cellerant is for approximately $63.2 million in the first two years. The contract can be extended annually for up to three years for an additional $89.9 million.

Today’s contract is a follow on from a previous contract between BARDA and Cellerant which supported advanced research and development of this cell-based treatment. Under the new contract, the company will conduct additional studies and validate their manufacturing process in order to apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensure of this method of treating neutropenia.

The contract uses the federal government’s new approach to producing medical countermeasures – the medications, vaccines, medical equipment and supplies needed for a health emergency. On Aug. 19, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a review of the federal government’s system to produce medical countermeasures, along with recommendations for a better approach. The recommendations included developing drugs that can be used for bioterrorism as well as common illnesses.

To learn more about BARDA and medical countermeasures, including The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise Review: Transforming the Enterprise to Meet Long Range National Needs, visit www.phe.gov.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Release News

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