In December 2011, Avon Protection Systems, Inc. in Cadillac, MI won a 5-year, $176.4 million firm-fixed-price contract to make M61 filter canisters for the new M50 Joint Service General Purpose Mask. Work will be performed in Cadillac, MI, and is expected to run until Dec 22/16. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 6 bids received by U.S. Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (W911SR-12-D-0001).
The new M50 mask is designed to be more compact, lighter, more comfortable and more effective than the older M40. When worn in conjunction with a MOPP suit, the mask allows over 24 hours of protection against chemical or biological agents and radioactive particulates. Improvements include a single cast, optically correct visor with a wider field of view than the previous twin-lens design, and a twin conformal filter for a 50% improvement in breathing resistance. Anyone who has ever tried heavy physical exertion in a gas mask understands how much that improvement means. The convenient integrated 3L Camelbak for drinking, and clip-on sunglasses or corrective lenses, will also be appreciated.
Achaogen in San Francisco, CA is working on “preclinical development of novel therapeutics that reduce the virulence of, and inhibit resistance in, Class A Bacterial Pathogens.” Achaogen closed a $26 million round of venture financing in October 2006, and they had raised $103 million in equity by March 2011. Their approach focuses on small molecules that inhibit the emergence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Initial efforts had the goal of making the bacteria susceptible to existing fluoroquinolones, and potentially to other classes of antibacterial drugs.
So, just what are “Class A bacterial pathogens?” You certainly know some of them by name.
Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) has recently released the following Requests for Proposals (RFP), modifications and other notifications:
The US Navy adds an additional clause and extends the closing date to 9th September for its RFP for a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract for the acquisition of engineering and technical support services for the Virginia Class (SSN 774) submarine and the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP).
The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has a central role in addressing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Their Research and Development Enterprise [PDF] is especially wide-ranging, covering everything from protective gear, to predictive and decision-support algorithms, to ScanEagle UAV variants that can monitor WMD levels, to co-operative non-proliferation programs, to development of new weapons like the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. Some of this work has even led to commercial spinoffs, vid. Sanofi Pasteur’s acquisition of VaxDesign and its DARPA/DTRA-financed MIMC model: an in vitro tool capable of predicting human immune response to specific bio-threat agents.
The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has undertaken an R&D effort to provide an integrated approach to combating weapons of mass destruction (WMD) known as the Research and Development Enterprise [PDF]. Their efforts are aimed at improving situational awareness about the WMD threat, controlling WMD materials and systems worldwide, reducing the threat to US troops, protecting the homeland, transforming the US nuclear deterrent, and controlling the threat of loose nuclear weapons in the world.
As part of this effort, DTRA awarded a contract April 18/11 worth up to $600 million to TASC in Chantilly, VA to provide advisory services to the agency’s effort in this area…
Significant progress at AVI Biopharma? (Aug 22/10)
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Fort Belvoir, VA is awarding contracts to find new anti-viral compounds that are effective against hemorrhagic fever viruses, a class that includes Ebola and other diseases.
Drug development is a long and expensive process ($100 million is often mentioned as the table stakes to get a drug through approvals), and promising therapies do not all make it through the research and testing stages. Even so, the research is interesting:
The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) awarded 10 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts for CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive) support services at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.
ECBC is the USA’s principal research and development center for non-medical chemical and biological defense. The center develops technology in the areas of CBRNE detection, protection, and decontamination, and provides support over the entire lifecycle – from basic research through technology development, engineering design, equipment evaluation, product support, sustainment, field operations and disposal.
The 10 ID/IQ contracts have a 5-year period of performance and a total value of $485 million for all awardees. Work will be performed at ECBC facilities on Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, at contractor offices, and at other customer sites as required.
PolyMedix of Radnor, PA has now received 3 biodefense-related contracts from the US government, including a a $1.6 million, 1-year contract from the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop new “defensin-mimetic antibiotic compounds.” The primary goal of that contract is to devise more effective rapid-response countermeasures against anthrax, plague, and tularemia. Other work may have benefits against pan-Staphylococcal infections, and pneumonia.
How does their proposed approach work, and what makes it novel?
“Il n’y a pas de liberte, il n’y a pas d’egalite, il n’y a pas de fraternite sans securite.”
— French President Nicolas Sarkozy
By mid 2007 it seemed that France’s President Sarkozy was softening on defense after an electoral stumble. In July 2007, Sarkozy put together a group that was tasked it with creating a White Paper to define France’s future defense policy. The last time an exercise of this type had been conducted was in 1994.
That group eventually returned with its report, and on June 17/08, President Sarkozy made a speech outlining the key elements of that future direction. The decisions made will change the shape of French defense spending, and will launch an attempt to implement an interlocking set of procurement, infrastructure, and political reforms and changes.
That plan has implications for NATO and the EU, while it received cabinet approval for a 6-year spending plan.
L-3 Services, Inc. in San Leandro, CA received a $7.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the design, development, integration and production of a form, fit and function, environmentally sealed, state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Pulser and its associated control system. Work will be performed in San Leandro, CA, and is expected to be complete in August 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $1.25 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals, with 2 offers received by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD (N00421-08-C-0070).
EMP is a side-effect of intense radiation bursts, usually from a nuclear weapon. Its effect is to fry most semiconductor-based electronics within its effective range, which is to say most electronics these days. This gives EMP a potential offensive use via strategically placed nuclear airbursts. Rep Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD] has led the charge on this issue in Congress, working to establish an EMP Commission that has reported on the USA’s general vulnerability to such attacks.
The military’s interest in this issue is narrower and more specific. Military systems are checked for their ability to survive specific EMP levels – but to do that, one needs to generate an EMP. Since the exact fate of any one device depends on its resistance, the power of the original pulse, and its distance from the source, testing EMPs from devices like L-3’s pulser can be much smaller – and much closer – than the real thing.