Altimmune Expands to New HQ With Plans for New Jobs
Published: Aug 24, 2017
August 23, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
In January 2017, Gaithersburg, Md.-based Altimmune and Annapolis, Md.-based PharmAthene announced a merger agreement. Today, the merged company, Altimmune, announced it is relocating its new employees from the merger, as well as its existing Gaithersburg staff, to a new 14,000 square-foot site in Gaithersburg.
Altimmune presently has 14 full-time staffers in Gaithersburg. As part of the expansion, it expects to add 45 new jobs over the next four years.
“Our move and expansion marks an important milestone in the company’s history and signals our continued commitment to building a fully-integrated and diversified immunotherapeutics company,” said Bill Enright, chief executive officer of Altimmune, in a statement. “Montgomery County is one of the most dynamic centers in the country for life sciences businesses, with a strong pool of experienced clinical development talent. As we advance our clinical programs, we see this location as strategic to our future growth.”
Altimmune’s lead product is NasoVAX, a recombinant flu vaccine that is administered intranasally. The company hopes to start a Phase II trial soon. The company’s second clinical program is an immunotherapy for patients with chronic Hepatitis B. It also has two fully government-sponsored anthrax vaccine programs, SparVax-L and NasoShield. PharmAthene was the company that focused on next generation anthrax vaccines.
In April, the merged companies were approved for listing on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “ALT.” Prior to that, Altimmune was a private company.
The company has received financial support from the Maryland Department of Commerce, which approved a $150,000 conditional loan via the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF). Montgomery County also provided a $100,000 conditional grant through its Economic Development Fund.
Altimmune is also eligible for a $50,000 grant from the City of Gaithersburg’s Economic Development Toolbox Program, in addition to several state and local tax credits.
“Gaithersburg enjoys an excellent reputation as a hub for the biotechnology industry and we continue to foster growth within this sector with programs like our Economic Development Toolbox,” said Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman, to the Gaithersburg Patch. “We thank Altimmune for choosing to grow in our community.”
The new facility is expected to be opened by the first quarter of 2018. Altimmune has 14 full-time employees and will be joined by five from PharmAthene.
At the end of the quarter on June 30, Altimmune had $90.9 million in assets, including $8.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. In the same quarter, it reported $3 million in revenue, an increase of 300 percent from the same quarter the year before of $746,000. The company, however, reported a net loss of $3.1 million in the same quarter, a change of approximately 93 percent from a loss of $1.6 million in the same period in 2016.
At this point, another Gaithersburg company, Emergent BioSolutions, has the only anthrax vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), called BioThrax. It was approved in 2002 for pre-exposure protection from the anthrax bacteria. In 2016, Emergent received a $31 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop a next-generation anthrax vaccine called NuThrax.
The Washington Business Journal writes, “PharmAthene has a next-generation anthrax vaccine called SparVax. But the company filed a complaint against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last year, claiming the government was giving a de facto sole-source anthrax contract to Emergent.”
In June 2016, HHS had issued two solicitation notices to develop and manufacture anthrax vaccines for the Strategic National Stockpile. Emergent indicated the government intends to establish and maintain a stockpile of anthrax vaccines that could protect 25 million people via continued procurement of 29.4 million doses of BioThrax and the acquisition of up to 27 million doses of a next-generation vaccine.