One of the most politically-connected yet scandal ridden vaccine companies in the united states, with troubling ties to the 2001 anthrax attacks and opioid crisis, is set to profit handsomely from the current coronavirus crisis.
by Whitney Webb and Raul Diego
Part 3 - Sourcing problems
The Michigan Biologic Products Institute (MBPI) had been founded in 1926 by the State to serve the vaccination needs of its largely rural population, many of whom worked on farms and required inoculation against naturally occurring anthrax spores and rabies.
By the 1980s, the Institute stood alone as the only anthrax vaccine manufacturer in the U.S. after 1970s-era regulations had driven most private vaccine manufacturers out of business. MBPI’s anthrax vaccine was known as Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA) or BioThrax.
Aligning himself with policy recommendations issued by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy – a front for the controversial Koch brothers, Michigan’s governor, John Engler, cited the MBPI’s endemic financial losses to justify putting the nation’s only licensed anthrax vaccine manufacturer up for sale in 1996. However, upon closer examination, the real reason behind the decision had more to do with a sudden spike in demand by the lab’s only customer, the US government, and the MBPI’s inability to meet it.
The Michigan facility required massive renovations if it was to fulfill the needs of a national security establishment that had come to reconstitute itself around the threat of weapons of mass destruction and biowarfare, a threat largely manufactured by the stories of Soviet defectors.
The Pentagon offered to pony up $1.8 million for the necessary renovations, but there were no takers — at least, none with a US passport.
That same year, perennial US defense contractor, Dyncorp, went into business with a shadowy group of biotech entrepreneurs from across the pond, forming the DynPort Vaccine Company, LLC., a combination of DynCorp’s name with that of its UK-based partner, Porton International, Inc. The latter company’s president, Zsolt Harsanyi, would also lead DynPort as the British firm began to lay the groundwork for its second attempt at securing a crucial monopoly within the American biotech space.