MTECH Facility Assists in Smallpox Therapy Development
BioFactura Inc. is developing a therapy for smallpox using the University of Maryland’s Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility.
The Rockville-based company is collaborating with Fort Detrick in the laboratories of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, in hopes of commercializing a product within four years. BioFactura will use the Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility to work on large-scale drug manufacturing.
The virus, transmitted by contact or through the air, can survive in dust, bedding and clothing. “Although anthrax proved to be a deadly bioterror agent, a smallpox attack could be devastating,” said BioFactura’s Chief Science Officer Darryl Sampey.
The threat of smallpox virus use at the hands of terrorists has led the government to fund extensive research to develop safer vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labels the virus a “Category A” agent, which presents the “greatest potential threat for harming the public.”
With help from the university’s Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility a cure for smallpox may be possible. “It would be one of the only smallpox therapies known to man, and be one of the largest products to come out of our lab,” said Ben Woodard, director of the Scale-Up Facility.
February 8, 2006