News | September 28, 1998

Novavax Makes Strides Against Anthrax

Novavax, Inc. recently announced that BCTP, an antimicrobial "nanoemulsion," destroyed anthrax spores in two preclinical studies. BCTP inactivated spores both in a culture dish and in mice exposed to anthrax through a skin incision. The data were presented by University of Michigan researchers at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in San Diego.

BCTP is an emulsion or "nanoemulsion" developed at the Novavax laboratories in Rockville, MD, by D. Craig Wright, M.D., chief scientific officer at Novavax, Inc. In the first study, BCTP inactivated greater than 90% of Bacillus anthracis spores after four hours of incubation. In the second study, which simulated wounds infected with B. anthracis, mice treated with BCTP had greatly reduced skin lesions and swelling compared to untreated mice.

"When properly formulated, the components in BCTP form an emulsion of tiny lipid droplets suspended in solvent," said Dr. Wright. "These lipids fuse with anthrax spores causing the spore to revert to its active state. During this process, which takes four to five hours, the spore's tough outer membrane changes allowing BCTP's solvent to strip away the exterior membrane. BCTP's detergent then degrades the spore's interior contents. In scanning electron microscope images, the spores appear to explode."

BCTP was developed using Novavax's proprietary emulsion technology. The technology is currently being tested for additional applications, such as the inactivation of influenza A virus and sperm.

Novavax, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical drug delivery company headquartered in Columbia, MD.

For more information: Brenda Fugagli, Novavax, Inc. Tel: 301-854-3900, ext. 226.