ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVAX) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has completed an In-Process Review (IPR) of Novavax' contract covering the company's recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidates for pandemic and seasonal influenza. The contractually-defined IPR was conducted by a team of U.S. Government experts (BARDA, FDA, NIH and CDC), who provided input on Novavax' progress during the contract base period and plans for further development, including both near-term process development and manufacturing activities and longer-term clinical efforts. BARDA has notified the company that based on the results of the IPR, a milestone decision has been made to continue the contract for both the seasonal and pandemic influenza programs. In March 2011, Novavax was awarded a contract valued at up to $179 million by BARDA for the advanced development of recombinant vaccines for the prevention of seasonal and pandemic influenza. In the midst of the contract's 3-year base period, valued at $97 million, Novavax has been developing and testing its novel recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) influenza vaccines to address BARDA's commitment to advancing recombinant-based technology as a component of pandemic preparedness. The contract can be extended for an additional 24-month option period at BARDA's option, with $82 million in additional funding to build on the work Novavax accomplishes during the base period and to support manufacturing scale-up and licensure by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). About VLPs and Novavax' Vaccine Program Virus-like particles (VLPs) are self-assembling protein structures that resemble the external structure of viruses, elicit broad and strong antibody and cellular immune responses but lack the live genetic material that causes viral replication and infection. VLPs can be designed quickly to match individual viral strains and be produced efficiently using portable recombinant cell-culture technology. Novavax's VLP-based vaccine candidates are produced more rapidly than egg-based vaccines because of our cell-culture technology platform combined with single-use bioprocessing technology employed strategically throughout the manufacturing process.