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DoD Restarts Ebola Program with Tekmira

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Tekmira Pharmaceuticals this week announced that the US Department of Defense has decided to continue its contract with the company to develop an RNAi-based treatment for Ebola virus infection.

The news is a major boon to Tekmira as the contract represents one of its biggest funding sources.

The firm and the DoD had been working together on an Ebola drug for years, and in 2010, Tekmira received a $34.7 million, three-year contract through the agency's Transformational Medical Technologies program to advance a therapeutic candidate called TKM-Ebola into phase I testing.

The DoD also has the option to extend the arrangement through US Food and Drug Administration approval, which would result in roughly $140 million in funding for Tekmira.

The fate of the alliance had been in question since early August, when Tekmira announced that the DoD had issued a temporary stop-work order on the Ebola contract, citing budgetary constraints (GSN 8/9/2012).

"We are pleased that our productive collaboration with the US DoD's Transformational Medical Technologies program will continue,” Tekmira President and CEO Mark Murray said in a statement. “As we recommence our work, we expect to build on the progress already made with TKM-Ebola and our [lipid nanoparticle] technology platform.”

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