SAB Biotherapeutics (SAB) has secured a contract to develop and test a Rapid Response Antibody Programme for the US Department of Defense (DoD).

Under the contract valued at $27m, the company will develop a modern, pharmaceutical platform technology.

The platform will be capable of producing antibody-based Medical Countermeasures (MCM) for biological threats.

The three-stage, multi-year contract was awarded through DOD’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) Joint Project Lead CBRND Enabling Biotechnologies (JPL-CBRND-EB).

It is aimed at accelerating the delivery of human, polyclonal antibody therapeutics to address known emerging biodefense threats within the body including viral, bacterial or toxin.

The DiversitAb platform uses advanced genetic engineering and antibody science to naturally and rapidly produce large amounts of targeted human antibodies, without human donors.

SAB president, CEO and co-founder Eddie Sullivan said: “We have an obligation to apply our proprietary capabilities to produce high-potency immunotherapies to virtually any target on a large scale, to a rapid response capacity.

“Our therapies leverage the native immune response thereby providing a highly-specific match against the complexity, diversity and mutation of disease.”

The first stage of the contract valued at $3.4m commenced in September last year and will continue until May this year. This stage will demonstrate the platform’s potential to meet the DoD’s requirements.

The next stage will increase the scale of production to meet the DoD’s target number of doses of prototype drug, implementing readiness.

Under the final stage of development, production of an antibody product selected by the DoD will be carried out through a Phase 1 trial.