FORT DETRICK, Md. – July 28, 2020 – The Department of Defense (DOD) awarded a $13.3 million contract to biotechnology company Immunome for the development of a novel biosynthetic convalescent plasma (BCP) as a potential new approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The BCP development starts with using convalescent plasma from high-responders (those who make high levels of antibodies) to identify the most important antibodies for BCP creation. Convalescent plasma, plasma that has been removed from the blood of a person who has recovered from a disease, may be beneficial in the treatment of patients suffering from COVID-19.
However, the availability of donor plasma at large scale, donor-to-donor variability related to their individual response, and time of collection can significantly limit convalescent plasma’s use. Through this award, Immunome aims to provide an industrially-scalable, standardized process for the development and manufacturing of a BCP alternative to convalescent plasma in order to overcome these challenges.
The DOD’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense’s (JPEO-CBRND) Joint Project Manager for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Medical (JPM CBRN Medical), in collaboration with the Defense Health Agency (DHA), executed a bilateral other transaction authority (OTA) agreement with Immunome for this effort. While the contract award is intended to specifically address the threat COVID-19 currently poses to both U.S. civilians and service members, the technology’s potential to also treat or protect service members from other future biological threats they may face makes it a particularly worthwhile DOD investment.
"We are very excited to partner in the development of this novel technology,” said Joint Project Manager for CBRN Medical, Col. Ryan Eckmeier. “We believe this process can not only be a solution for the current pandemic, but if successful, could also provide our nation with a method to quickly respond to other novel outbreaks. The ability to quickly reduce the reliance on plasma, but provide the same capability, will ensure our readiness now and in the future."
To learn more about this effort, please visit: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200728005197/en/Immunome-Awarded-Department-Defense-Contract-Develop-Biosynthetic
About the JPEO-CBRND:
The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) protects the Joint Force by providing medical countermeasures and defense equipment against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. JPEO-CBRND’s goal is to enable the Joint Force to fight and win unencumbered by a CBRN environment. JPEO-CBRND facilitates the rapid response, advanced development, manufacturing and acquisition of medical solutions, such as vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, to combat CBRN and emerging threats such as COVID-19. To learn more about JPEO-CBRND’s COVID-19 response, visit https://www.jpeocbrnd.osd.mil/coronavirus or follow JPEO-CBRND on social media at @JPEOCBRND.