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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

BARDA funds development of drugs to treat injuries from chemical bioterrorism

Date: August 30, 2011

Company: Countervail Corp., Charlotte, N.C.

Contract amount: $5.3 million over 16 months

About the contract: This contract supports advanced development of a drug called galantamine to treat people who have been exposed to organophosphate compounds, which include nerve agents, such as sarin and VX, and pesticides, such as parathion and chlorpyrifos. These chemicals damage nerve endings by inhibiting an enzyme critical to nerve cell electrical signal transmission. The contract includes funding for preliminary efficacy studies for galantamine as a post-exposure treatment for VX. Galantamine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The drug also may protect nerve tissues in a chemical bioterrorism attack, helping prevent seizures and degeneration of parts of the brain and nervous system after exposure to chemical agents and potentially filling a gap in the nation’s chemical injury preparedness portfolio. No drug has yet been approved for use after exposure to these chemical agents. 

Additional information: BARDA is seeking additional proposals for product candidates that potentially could treat illness and injury from acute and delayed chemical agents, as well as improved diagnostic tools to measure the dose a person has received after a chemical exposure.  Proposals are accepted through the Broad Agency Announcement BARDA-CBRN-BAA-11-100-SOL-00009 at

Press Release:  BARDA Supports Development of Drugs to Treat Chemical Injury

Procurement Announcement:  Contract Award under BAA-BARDA-09-34

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  • This page last reviewed: August 05, 2020