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U.S. gives Profectus grants for Ebola vaccine

Profectus BioSciences Inc., of Baltimore, a pharmaceutical company, has received a three-year, $8.5 million grant — along with Galveston National Laboratory, of Texas — to develop an Ebola vaccine. Profectus’ VesiculoVax vaccine, designed for combating biowarfare threats, could also “have application with regard to protecting civilians and military personnel against highly lethal emerging infectious diseases,” John Eldridge, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Profectus, said in a statement. Profectus said its vaccine has proven effective against viruses such as Ebola in tests with monkeys. This week, Profectus also announced a one-year, $5.8 million contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to get VesiculoVax into human testing studies. That contract could be extended for 13 months at $8.6 million. With this week’s two contracts, Profectus’ total federal funding for VesiculoVax has reached $27.9 million.