HHS Hollers Back
In a response I received after my anthrax vaccine story had been posted, Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Hall denied that his agency had erred in withdrawing the Vaxgen contract. Vaxgen missed its deadlines and failed to fix its problems, he said, and HHS was still pursuing a recombinant anthrax vaccine (as I noted in the story, Emergent is likely to win this contract). Hall said I had been remiss in not interviewing some of the companies that were successfully working on Bioshield. "No one ever bothers to report on all our successes or ask those companies who have successfully worked with the BioShield program about their experiences," he said, "such as Human Genome Sciences (eds note: HGS is making monoclonal antibody against anthrax), BioPort/Emergent Biosolutions, Cangene (botulinium antitoxin), Bavarian Nordic (new-generation smallpox vaccine), Akorn Inc. (anti-radioactive isotope chelator), Fleming & Company Pharmaceuticals (anti-radiation medicine), etc." A list of all HHS Bioshield procurements can be found here.
I still insist that HHS botched the recombinant anthrax vaccine contract.