Siga Technologies marked a major milestone this week when it announced it had turned over 190,000 courses of its anti-smallpox drug, Arestvyr, to the Strategic National Stockpile.
It was Siga’s first product delivery to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is building up the country’s defenses against potential biological warfare agents in the wake of 9/11.
The biotech company still hasn’t received any money under its $433 million procurement contract, but the drug delivery brings it a whole lot closer to that first big payday.
Under terms of its contract with BARDA, Siga must ultimately deliver 2 million courses of Arestvyr at about $200 a pop. But the company doesn’t start getting checks from the feds until it meets an initial production threshold of 500,000 courses.
Speaking by telephone from the company’s New York headquarters, CEO Eric Rose said Friday he expects to hit that target sometime in the second or third quarter of this year.
And, for a drug development firm that’s been burning through millions of dollars annually in research and development costs without an approved product on the market, booking a big chunk of revenue will provide a huge shot in the arm.
“The execution of this contract is allowing us to make the transition to a commercial company — that is, a cash flow-positive, profitable company,” Rose said.
Rose’s enthusiasm is contagious.
At Siga’s Corvallis laboratories, where chief scientific officer Dennis Hruby oversees a staff of 70 people, the mood is definitely upbeat.
Knowing that a reliable income stream is within reach provides a sense of security for scientists and technicians laboring to develop new antiviral compounds to address a host of biowarfare threats and emerging diseases, from dengue fever and ebola to West Nile virus and new strains of the flu.
Ha Ha. Seriously? There is no way that Dr. Rose got 'enthused', that's a laugh. I've been holding this stock for over 9 years and not once have I know Rose to be anything but lethargic at best. imo. Seriously? The author of this piece stated that 'Rose's enthusiasm is contagious', really? I would give 10% percent of my shares away if I could witness a minute of this 'enthusiasm'. Then again, maybe it's just me.
Hi prettycup, I also hold Siga about 9 years .I recall in the past you had good comments and ideas as to which way Siga will go( since the legal Pip affair) have not heard much. Any fresh ideas of which way we are going now with (the Pip Affair as well?) Unfortunately I rode up to 15 and all the down.
“It allows us to continue our research and development work,” said Victor Allen, the company’s security chief. “That’s what we’re in business for — to continue the development of all the antivirals we’re working on.”
And meeting the delivery target also brings a sense of accomplishment to people such as Will Weimers, who started as a part-time lab tech in 2000 and now helps lead the company’s chemistry, manufacturing and control group.
He’s been involved with the Arestvyr program since its inception, and now he’s helping to formulate the drug for delivery to the U.S. government.
“It’s been enjoyable to see the development from a pure research point to an actual product,” he said.