In an effort to prevent bioterrorism attacks, just in case, SIGA Technologies Inc SIGA started working on the smallpox treatment, Tpoxx, after the 9/11 terrorist attack that shook the world. FDA approved Tpoxx for smallpox in 2018.
By 2001, SIGA shares were faltering, and the company relied on grants.
After September 11, the federal government provided new funding for biodefense research.
As per Wall Street Journal, SIGA shifted its focus to drugs and vaccines to countermeasure bioterrorism attacks. SIGA received over $1 billion in government contracts to develop and manufacture a smallpox drug for the U.S. stockpile.
Like Bavarian Nordic AS BVNRY, the only maker of a vaccine licensed for monkeypox, SIGA is mainly alone on one front of the response to an epidemic.
The company said it is juggling calls from governments worldwide, leading to $60 million in Tpoxx orders.
U.S. officials have made Tpoxx available for seriously ill monkeypox patients, drawing on its stockpile of 1.7 million treatment courses it acquired in case of a smallpox outbreak.
The Biden administration would make available 50,000 treatment courses to local health departments this week in addition to 20,000 courses sent previously.
Tpoxx was never tested in humans because smallpox was eradicated decades ago, instead on animals against viruses similar to smallpox, including monkeypox.
Tpoxx appears to be safe, and the animal data supports its use as an antiviral against monkeypox, doctors said.
Price Action: SIGA shares are down 10% at $18.93 on the last check Thursday.
Photo Jernej Furman from Flickr
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