Targeting anthrax: Durham firm aims to be global biodefense leader with latest deal

Targeting anthrax: Durham firm aims to be global biodefense leader with latest deal


DURHAM – A biodefense company which already has an anti-anthrax product and has secured more than $350 million in federal contracts will soon become part of Durham-based Heat Biologics (Nasdaq: HTBX) under terms of a deal announced before markets opened Tuesday.

Elusys Therapeutics is based in New Jersey. Its product is called Anthim.

The deal is designed to help establish Heat as a global leader in biodefense, the company said.

It also follows the September news that Heat is spinning off a company that will focus on developing a method that enables rapid drug development.

The spinoff, Skunkworx Bio, Inc., is developing what it calls “Pocket Biologics,” or therapeutics that are derived from its antibody and small protein libraries, the company said in its statement.

Heat CEO Jeff Wolf described the Elusys acquisition as “an important step in realizing our vision to develop and commercialize new biopharmaceuticals and vaccines for the global biodefense market. Anthrax represents one of the most significant biological warfare threats facing our country and Elusys has established a successful track record in collaborating with U.S. government agencies including BARDA, NIH, SNS and DOD. Following this acquisition, we look forward to further strengthening the ongoing collaboration with the U.S. government. Our goal is to expand global sales and leverage our capabilities to supply Anthim worldwide.”

Skunkworx: That’s new rapid drug development firm spinning off from Morrisville’s Heat Bio

Specific finacials of the deal were not immediately disclosed other than Heat said it would “acquire all outstanding shares of Elusys. No stock or warrants will be issued in connection with the acquisition, and Elusys has no outstanding debt.”

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

Anthim is already approved for use in the United States, Canada and in Europe and the United Kingdom.

“Through ongoing, multi-year partnerships with the U.S. government, Elusys has been supplying Anthim to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)—the government’s repository of critical medical supplies for biowarfare preparedness,” Heat noted.

Heat also recently announced what it described as a “new cellular vaccine platform” to combat “known and unknown biological threats,” Heat’s CEO explained.

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Kassie Hoffman
Kassie pens down all the news from the world of politics on ANH.