Emergent BioSolutions

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (formerly BioPort Corporation) is an global biopharmaceutical company specializing in development, manufacture and marketing of vaccines and immune system pharmaceuticals. BioThrax® is the only vaccine licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of anthrax. The company's development pipeline anthrax, botulism, tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis B and chlamydia programs. [1]

Emergent BioSolutions has an exclusive license to produce the anthrax vaccine in the United States. In September of 1998, Bioport took over the formerly public Michigan Biologics Products Institute (MBPI), created in 1996 with a two-year lifespan. Less than a month later, the company gained a $29 million contract with the Department of Defense (DoD) to "manufacture, test, bottle and store the anthrax vaccine." [2] The company supplies BioThrax primarily to the DoD and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Chairman and CEO Fuad El-Hibri controls half of the company.[3]

In the fiscal year ending in December of 2009, the company reported sales of approximately $234.8 million dollars and had 652 employees.[4]

Animal testing

Emergent BioSolutions does animal testing.

Facility information, progress & USDA-APHIS reports

This facility performed animal experiments involving pain or distress but no analgesics, anesthetics or pain relievers were administered. For copies of this facility's U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Facility Reports & Information: Bioport Corporation, Lansing, MI. [5]

USDA AWA reports

As of May 26, 2009, the USDA began posting all inspection reports for animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, handlers, research facilities and animal carriers by state. See also USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports.

Lobbying for national immunizations

In 2002, the U.S.' sole manufacturer of the anthrax vaccine launched a lobbying blitz, urging lawmakers to back a national immunization for civilians. BioPort went to Capitol Hill with a report predicting a deadly wave of anthrax attacks; due to the ease of engineering antibiotic-resistant strains. [6]

DoD & Bioport

Regulations allowed the DoD to "provide extraordinary relief" to BioPort Corporation during late FY 1999, in spite of "significant risks." [7] Between 1998 and 2002, the DoD pumped over $130 million into the company, in hopes of stockpiling enough anthrax vaccines for all 2.4 million U.S. soldiers and reservists. The Pentagon continued paying BioPort even after the company repeated failed FDA inspections and was prohibited from shipping any vaccine. [8]

Mandatory experimental vaccinations & related deaths

In 2003, six soldiers filed suit against the government for experimenting on them with the BioPort anthrax vaccine. According to the charges, the vaccine was considered experimental; therefore its mandatory administration was illegal. On Dec. 22, 2003, the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the military to stop experimenting on soldiers for dangerous anthrax vaccines. In 2003, army sergeant Rachel Lacey died of complications from the vaccine, according to an autopsy report from the Mayo Clinic. Despite strong evidence that the vaccine was causing pneumonia-like symptoms in military personnel, the Pentagon denied the possibility. Instead, they blamed cigarette smoking as the leading factor. The vaccination is a series of 6 shots over 18 months.

Staff Sgt. Neal B. Erickson Sr. didn't smoke, yet had pneumonia-like symptoms 10 days after his fourth anthrax shot. He required hospitalization 10 days after his next shot; where he tested negative for viruses. The Pentagon referred to the illnesses as a “mysterious pneumonia cluster”. According to Sgt Erickson, there were at least four other cases in his squadron, as well as another hospitalization. There were at least one hundred similar cases as well as multiple deaths; many of which were not investigated.

Thousands of Gulf War I veterans were poisoned by depleted uranium and the same BioPort vaccine under George H.W. Bush and later under Bill Clinton. In October of 2003, 80.3 million tax dollars were spent in ordering VaxGen Inc. to develop an experimental anthrax vaccine. An additional $71.3 million was contracted to Avecia for 3 million doses of a new anthrax vaccine. Within weeks of a court decision to cease mandatory vaccinations, the FDA approved BioPort's vaccine as "“safe and effective”. Judge Emmit Sullivan, who ruled that soldiers should not be used in experimental vaccination programs, issued a subsequent order allowing the Pentagon to resume mandatory vaccinations; a “temporary boost” for BioPort. Just days before his ruling, the Pentagon ordered a $29.7 million order of anthrax vaccine from BioPort, part of a $245.6 million contract, in anticipation of the reversal. [9]

PR & lobbying a shot in the arm

According to Bob Evans in a December of 2005 article in the Newport News Daily Press, the only licensed U.S. anthrax vaccine maker, BioPort, turned government contracts into "a gold mine ...with help from the "right lobbyists and public relations professionals." In 2002, following questions about vaccine safety and its financial practices, BioPort nearly quadrupled spending on lobbyists (from $30,000 to $110,000) and hired Ruder Finn and Fleishman-Hillard, "high-powered public relations firms staffed by many former government officials." The company began "sponsoring 'public education seminars' and studies."

In September 2002, a report released by "bioterrorism experts" encouraged the government "to purchase millions of doses of BioPort's product." According to Evans, the report was written by either BioPort or its public relations agent. BioSolutions pays $40,000 a year to maintain a website that advertises that it is sponsored by the Partnership for Anthrax Vaccination Education and touts the company's product. In 2005, BioPort won a $122.7 million dollar contract with the HHS. [10]

Maryland bankruptcy court approves purchase of Antex

On March 17, 2003, BioPort Corporation announced that it had executed a discretionary loan agreement and a non-binding letter of intent with Antex Biologics, Inc., with the intent of acquiring all assets of the Maryland based company.

On March 27, Antex filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The purchase of Antex $3.4 million was approved by Maryland's bankruptcy court. [11]

Staff & board

Directors

Executive staff

  • Fuad El-Hibri - CEO
  • Robert Kramer, President, COO. Kramer "served as the director of the Michigan Biologic Products Institute until BioPort purchased it in 1998. Dr. Myers also spent 18 years in various roles at the Michigan Department of Public Health. He is also a member of the board of directors."
  • Robert Myers, Executive Vice President, CSO.
  • Adm. William J. Crowe, Jr. director, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Contact

Emergent BioSolutions, Inc.
500 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Lansing, Michigan 48906

Ph: 517-327-1500

Fax: 517-327-1501

Web address: http://www.emergentbiosolutions.com/default.aspx

Articles & sources

Sourcewatch articles

References

  1. Our Company, Emergent BioSolutions, accessed July 2009
  2. Howard L. Rosenberg Anthrax Cloud’s Silver Lining: Bioport Corp. Lands Exclusive License to Produce Vaccine, ABC News, March 1999
  3. Company Profile: Emergent BioSolutions, Hoovers, accessed January 2011
  4. Key Emergent BioSolutions Inc. Financials, Hoovers, accessed January 2011
  5. Facility Reports and Information: Bioport Corporation, Lansing, MI, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, accessed March 2010
  6. Peg Brickley National anthrax vaccination urged. Manufacturer pushing for mass civilian immunization, The Scientist, October 22, 2002
  7. Robert J. Lieberman, Assistant Inspector General for Auditing, DoD Statement before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on Defense Anthrax Vaccine Contracting, Senate.gov, July 12, 2000
  8. Bill Hogan, A Biodefense Boondoggle, Mother Jones, January/February 2002
  9. Michael Kane, Nico Haupt Vaccine Epidemic: A Tragic History of Lies, Fraud, and Death Remains the Standard, From the Wilderness, March 2004
  10. Bob Evans How a company cashed in on anthrax, Newport News Daily Press, December 2005
  11. BioPort Corporation Completes Purchase of Assets of Antex Biologics, Inc., The Free Library, June 2003
  12. Directors, Emergent BioSolutions, accessed July 2009

External resources