Government research into biodefense agents means business for three drug companies and contract manufacturers. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Moderna Therapeutics up to $25 million to research and develop messenger RNA technology to make antibody-producing drugs that protect against infectious disease and engineered biological threats. Moderna says its approach is an alternative to vaccines that involve exposing people to a weakened or inactivated pathogen. Pfenex, meanwhile, has won an $8 million extension of a contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority to develop an anthrax vaccine based on a recombinant protective antigen. The extension brings Pfenex’ total funding under the pact to $23.9 million. And Albany Molecular Research Inc.’s U.K. subsidiary has been awarded a seven-year contract to manufacture an unidentified active pharmaceutical ingredient that is under evaluation by the defense departments of the U.K., Canada, and the Netherlands. AMRI notes that it has been a subcontractor for the U.S. Defense Department for more than a decade.