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VaxGen Gets Pact for Anthrax Vaccine

VaxGen (VXGN) said Thursday that it had received a U.S. government contract to supply 75 million doses of anthrax vaccine for civilians. The contract is worth $877.5 million for the vaccine that is still under development.

The long-awaited contract for the Brisbane, Calif., company was made under the Project BioShield Act of 2004. The company said the contract should provide enough vaccine for 25 million people for guarding against inhaled anthrax, the most dangerous form of the disease and the most likely form to be used as a weapon by terrorists.

The announcement came after markets had closed; but shares of VaxGen rose $1.90, or 15.3%, to close at $14.35 in a flurry of trading between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. VaxGen is listed on the pink sheets, a stock quotation service normally reserved for thinly traded public companies. More than 1.2 million shares changed hands on Thursday.

VaxGen was delisted from the Nasdaq in August for failing to promptly file quarterly financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The contract calls for the company to provide 25 million doses to the federal government within two years and the rest within the following 12 months. VaxGen said it expects to begin delivering the vaccine in early 2006. The Project BioShield enables the government to take the vaccine before the drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. VaxGen said the vaccine will be subject to an accelerated review program at the FDA.

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