ALACHUA – Alachua-based biotech company Nanotherapeutics, Inc. has secured a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense that could be worth about $360 million.

The company was awarded a $135,834,018 cost-plus-fixed-fee incrementally-funded contract by the U.S. Army to develop and manufacture drugs and vaccines to combat bioterrorism. If all options are exercised, the total award over 10 years could reach $360 million.

Expected uses of the drugs and vaccines include treating military populations against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks and outbreaks of naturally occurring emerging and genetically engineered infectious diseases.

The development and production of these drugs and vaccines will be done locally in Alachua. A large development and manufacturing facility will be built in Alachua, with an estimated completion date of March 19, 2015, said Patti Breedlove, associate director of the University of Florida’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator.

“It’s wonderful news for the whole community here,” Breedlove said. “It will put a spotlight on Alachua.”

Nanotherapeutics officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The company, located at 13859 Progress Boulevard in Alachua’s Progress Corporate Park, currently produces new drugs and makes existing drugs stronger through nanometer-scale particle technology.

Nanotherapeutics was founded by James Talton in 2000 under the name Nanocoat Technologies. It was renamed Nanotherapeutics in 2002.

Nanotherapeutics was a resident company in UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator for almost nine years. The company was admitted to the incubator on Jan. 3, 2000. It graduated from the program on July 30, 2008, relocating to a new building in Progress Corporate Park, which fronts U.S. Highway 441 and borders San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park.

Additional information is expected to be released by federal officials in the future.

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