Obama administration awards $27 million grant under new health emergency strategy

The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday awarded a $27 million contract to San Francisco-based Achaogen Inc. for the development of a new antibiotic to treat plague and tularemia infections. The contract is in keeping with a new funding strategy for medical countermeasures that focuses on developing drugs that can combat bioterrorism threats as well as common illnesses that are becoming resistant to existing antibiotics.

"This new antibiotic is part of our push against antibiotic resistance for certain bacterial infections, and at the same time could provide a new treatment for plague and tularemia biothreats," said Robin Robinson, director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at HHS. "It's the first time BARDA research and development funds have been used in a multi-use approach like this."

The two-year contract can be extended for up to three years, for a total of $64 million.