The US Army has awarded a contract to AVI BioPharma for the development of new platform-based solutions to counter biological threats.

Under the contract worth around $291m, the company will develop therapeutic candidates, AVI-6002 and AVI-6003, for ebola and marburg viral fevers respectively.

The six-year contract is part of the US Department of Defense chemical and biological defence programme, Transformational Medical Technologies (TMT).

Around $80m of the contract will be spent on phase 1 studies in healthy volunteers as well as preclinical studies for a period of more than 18 months.

AVI-6002 and AVI-6003 are RNA-based therapeutic candidates that use the company’s PMOplus chemistry.

The remedies have demonstrated reproducible high rates of survival in ebola and marburg virus-infected animals.

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The TMT programme was developed to produce a wide range of medical countermeasures to protect the soldiers from emerging and genetically altered biological threats.