Tekmira Pharmaceuticals said last week that the US Department of Defense has extended the temporary stop-work order it recently imposed on its partnership with the company to develop an RNAi-based treatment for Ebola virus infection.
Tekmira said that it now expects to hear by Sept. 30 whether the order has been lifted or extended again, or whether the government is terminating the arrangement altogether.
Tekmira and the DoD had been working together on an Ebola drug for years. 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 to US Food and Drug Administration approval, which would result in approximately $140 million in funding to Tekmira.
However, Tekmira announced in August that the DoD had issued a temporary stop-work order on the Ebola contract citing budgetary constraints (GSN 8/9/2012).
At the time, Tekmira said it would get additional information on the fate of the Ebola alliance by Sept. 1.