US-based specialty biopharmaceutical manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions has received approximately $20m (£16m) contract to develop and manufacture diazepam (5mg/mL) auto-injector to treat nerve agent-induced seizures.

Emergent BioSolutions said that the auto-injector is a device being designed for intramuscular buddy-administration, intended for use in military environments and civilian emergencies.

Emergent BioSolutions SVP and devices business unit head Doug White said: “Emergent is pleased with this follow-on contract, which expands our opportunities to serve the needs of the Department of Defense (DoD) for modern and reliable auto-injectors to protect our military personnel against nerve agents.

“We are committed to meeting our customers’ high expectations and leverage our more than 20-year history of successfully partnering with governments in addressing public health threats.”

Emergent will develop device conduct studies and obtain regulatory approval for device

The contract has been awarded by the Medical CBRN Defence Consortium (MCDC), established by the Joint Project Manager for Medical Countermeasure Systems (JPM MCS).

MCDC is a DoD initiative within the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defence that provides US military forces and the nation with safe, effective, and innovative medical solutions to counter chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats.

Under the multi-year agreement, Emergent would develop an auto-injector device, and conduct studies to validate consistency in manufacturing, functionality, and usability of the final device.

In addition, the company is also responsible for completing regulatory requirements to obtain approval for the final product by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Recently, Emergent has received a 10 years contract valuing approximately $2bn (£1.6bn) for the continued supply of ACAM2000, Smallpox Vaccine into the US Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), a part of US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded the contract.

Emergent is an international life sciences company aimed at protecting and enhancing life by providing specialty products that address accidental, deliberate, and naturally occurring public health threats for civilian and military populations.