Effect of raxibacumab on immunogenicity of Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed: a phase 4, open-label, parallel-group, randomised non-inferiority study

Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Aug;20(8):983-991. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30069-4. Epub 2020 Apr 22.


Background: Raxibacumab is a monoclonal antibody against protective antigen, which is the cell-binding part of Bacillus anthracis toxin, and is approved for treatment and postexposure prophylaxis of inhalational anthrax. Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA), for anthrax prophylaxis, consists primarily of adsorbed protective antigen. We did a postapproval study to assess the effect of raxibacumab on immunogenicity of AVA.

Methods: We did an open-label, parallel-group, randomised non-inferiority study at three centres in the USA. We enrolled healthy volunteers (aged 18-65 years) with no evidence of exposure to protective antigen. Participants were randomly allocated (1:1) according to a pregenerated balanced independent randomisation schedule to either subcutaneous 0·5 mL AVA on days 1, 15, and 29 or raxibacumab intravenous infusion (40 mg/kg) immediately before AVA on day 1, followed by AVA only on days 15 and 29. It was an open-label study to investigators and participants; however, the sponsor remained blinded during the study. The primary outcome was the ratio of geometric mean concentrations (GMCs) of anti-protective antigen antibodies (attributable to the immune response to AVA) between AVA and AVA plus raxibacumab 4 weeks after the first AVA dose in the per-protocol population. The per-protocol population comprised all individuals who received the allocated treatment within the protocol-specified visit window and completed the primary study outcome assessment, without a protocol deviation requiring exclusion. The non-inferiority margin for the ratio of GMCs was predefined (upper limit of 90% CI <1·5). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02339155.

Findings: Between Feb 24, 2015, and June 6, 2017, 873 participants were screened for eligibility, of whom 300 were excluded. 573 were randomly allocated either AVA (n=287) or AVA plus raxibacumab (n=286). The per-protocol population comprised 276 individuals assigned AVA and 269 allocated AVA plus raxibacumab. At week 4, the GMC of anti-protective antigen antibodies in participants allocated AVA was 26·5 μg/mL (95% CI 23·6-29·8) compared with 22·5 μg/mL (20·1-25·1) among individuals allocated AVA plus raxibacumab. The ratio between groups was 1·18 (90% CI 1·03-1·35; p=0·0019), which met the predefined non-inferiority margin. Adverse events in the safety population were similar across groups (87 [30%] of 286 in the AVA group vs 80 [29%] of 280 in the AVA plus raxibacumab group) and no treatment-related serious adverse events were reported.

Interpretation: Co-administration of raxibacumab with AVA does not negatively affect AVA immunogenicity. This finding suggests that combining raxibacumab with AVA might provide added benefit in postexposure prophylaxis against inhalational anthrax.

Funding: US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase IV
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthrax / prevention & control*
  • Anthrax Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Anthrax Vaccines / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine / drug effects*
  • Immunoglobulin G / administration & dosage*
  • Immunoglobulin G / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Anthrax Vaccines
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • raxibacumab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02339155