Beltsville company, French firm to seek meningitis B...

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 04, 1995

Beltsville company, French firm to seek meningitis B vaccine

Beltsville-based North American Vaccine said yesterday that it plans to sign an agreement with Pasteur Merieux Serums & Vaccins of Paris to develop a conjugate vaccine to fight meningitis B. Pasteur Merieux, a subsidiary of Rhone-Poulenc, operates in North America through Connaught Laboratories.

The vaccine would be used to defend against meningococcal B bacteria, which is responsible for most cases of meningitis in developed countries since the late 1940s. In the United States, the bacteria account for 50 percent of the 2,600 yearly cases of meningitis, and it is on the rise in South America and Europe.

Under the proposed agreement, publicly held North American Vaccine and Pasteur Merieux-Connaught would hold exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the meningitis B vaccine. The product would be sold globally.

Total fees and payments to North American Vaccine could be $50 million if the company receives clinical and regulatory approvals for the new vaccine, the company said. North American Vaccine also would get royalties on sales by Pasteur Merieux-Connaught.

Stock prices rise 12.9% for 12 Baltimore firms

The stocks of a dozen Baltimore-based companies jumped nearly 13 percent in the third quarter to outperform companies in 20 other cities, according to a survey by Money/Norby Cities Index.

The Baltimore companies ranked fourth on the list of 24, with a 12.9 percent increase in their stock prices in the quarter, compared with a 7.7 percent gain in the second period of the year.

Alex. Brown Inc. led the group with a 35.76 percent increase in its stock price in the quarter, followed by Mercantile Bankshares Corp., which had a 21.11 percent gain, according to the Money survey. Other top gainers included Life Technologies Inc., whose stock was up 17.78 percent; Manor Care Inc., up 16.74 percent; and Black & Decker Corp., up 10.53 percent.

Baltimore ranked behind Los Angeles, where companies gained 18.8 percent; San Diego, which showed a 16.6 percent gain; and New York City, which had a 14.4 percent gain.

TVI Corp. to supply shelters at Fla. air base

Beltsville-based TVI Corp. says it again has been chosen by the Air Force to supply 13 shelter systems to Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fla., after a second protest from a losing bidder. The bidder's second protest to the General Accounting Office will delay the work about 90 days, the company said.

The contract is valued at $1.4 million. The systems consist of three connected shelters supported by a utility trailer.

TVI also announced it has received a three-year, $600,000-plus contract for thermal targets for an Army tank gunnery range.

United HealthCare acquires MetraHealth for $1.59 billion

United HealthCare Corp. said yesterday that it has completed its $1.59 billion acquisition of MetraHealth Cos. Inc., creating the nation's largest health care management services company.

Annual revenues are expected to be more than $8 billion, United HealthCare said. MetraHealth was 48.25 percent-owned each by Travelers Group and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

Under the merger agreement, adjusted for a $60 million pre-acquisition dividend to MetraHealth's former owners, United HealthCare paid $1.09 billion in cash and $500 million of preferred stock, the company said.

MetraHealth's former owners are eligible to receive up to an additional $700 million if certain performance levels are met.

International lottery launched on Internet

InterLotto, an international lottery licensed in Liechtenstein and launched yesterday, will give the world's 50 million Internet users the opportunity every week to win a jackpot of at least 1.2 million Swiss francs -- about $1 million -- by dialing a new World Wide Web page.

Interlotto officials said players could nominate charities to receive awards. At least 5 percent of InterLotto revenues will go to charity initially, with 65 percent to be given in prize money and the rest used for paying costs.

Tickets cost 5 Swiss francs -- $4.30 -- with a minimum purchase of two. The first drawing is Saturday.

Union calls 'best' offer by Boeing unacceptable

Negotiators for Seattle-based Boeing Co. made their "best and final" contract proposal to the Machinists union late Monday, a day of demonstrations and a slowdown by members of the aerospace company's largest union.

Machinists leaders said the company's offer is "totally unacceptable" and they'll recommend a strike vote.

The three-year contract proposal was to be distributed today to the more than 34,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers employed by Boeing. Voting is scheduled tomorrow; the old pact expires at midnight that night.

A walkout would require a two-thirds vote, but Machinists District Lodge 751 President Bill Johnson said his members are ready to strike. His district represents about 26,000 Boeing employees in the Puget Sound area.

Apple growers' lawsuit against CBS rejected

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