Department Of Defense Contracts Local Biotech Company To Make Meds To Counter Nerve Agents

Dec 6, 2019

Biotechnology company BioHybrid Solutions, based in Harmar, Pa., is partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense on a countermeasure for chemical agents, such as sarin gas. The $30 million contract will last for five years.

BioHybrid Solutions specializes in making drugs work over a longer period of time by giving them a special polymer outer coating, according to CEO Alan Russell. This double the amount of time a drug works in the body.

The federal government has tasked the company with developing a long-lasting pill that could protect a person against nerve agents used in chemical warfare.

"The hope would certainly be that you can offer enough protection over a few weeks from a single dose," Russell said. 

The U.S. Military distributed a treatment against nerve agents during the 1991 Gulf War, called pyridostigmine bromide, whose side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Russell said BioHybrid Solutions' polymer coating could largely mitigate a drug's side effects.

The plan, according to Russell, is to get a usable drug to the Federal Drug Administration for approval within five years.