Project BioShield: Consistent financing, markets, indemnity for biodefense vaccine developers needed

ent Policy

"Transparency and consistency in BioShield policy as well as the careful coordination of efforts between the NIH, DoD, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also be important for attracting industry participation," Dr. Ryan added. "The biotechnology industry understands that acquisition priorities must vary in response to evolving threats and technological advances. To the extent attainable, however, acquisition priorities that remain consistent from year to year will boost industry confidence that we have a reliable government partner."

She noted that the crucial role of product acquisition would be played by the Department of Homeland Security, and that the industry would be watching closely to see that DHS is given the authority and funding it will need to effectively fill this crucial role.

Liability Protections Also Needed

"Finally, after an adequate and reliable market, our industry's great concern revolves around indemnification," said Dr. Ryan. "A biotechnology company like AVANT cannot afford to risk their stockholders' investments and employees' livelihoods by venturing unprotected into the biodefense realm where large portions of the population will be inoculated in a program of administration over which we have little or no control." She noted that there are many examples of product liability protection extended to companies that supply much needed but potentially risky vaccines, most recently the protection offered by the Homeland Security Act to manufacturers of the smallpox vaccine.

"Unless companies are protected to a fair and reasonable degree from the risk of lawsuits that could put them out of business just by their existence, rather than their merit, the biotechnology industry will be unable to participate in this national effort," Dr. Ryan said.

About AVANT Immunotherapeutics

AVANT Immunotherapeutics is engaged in the discovery, development and co

Contact: Joan Kureczka
Kureczka/Martin Associates

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