UPDATE 1-Medicago wins contract to develop Ebola treatments

Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:47am EST
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(Adds details on background, competition)

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Canadian drugmaker Medicago said it received a contract from a U.S. federal agency to develop three different potential treatments for Ebola.

The company said on Tuesday it would make the antibodies in its Quebec facility for a study in non-human primates.

Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has told the company that its anti-Ebola treatments should be efficient as Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp.

An outbreak of Ebola has killed close to 10,000 people across West Africa over the last year. The number of new cases has plummeted but officials have said much work still needs to be done before the virus is snuffed out in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three worst affected nations.

So far ZMapp and a compound from Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp have shown that their drugs could cure non-human primates given otherwise-lethal injections of Ebola virus.

Other companies that are currently testing potential treatments for the deadly infection are GlaxoSmithKline, Sarepta Pharmaceuticals Inc, Novavax Inc, Merck & Co, Johnson & Johnson and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Maju Samuel)