Novavax moves to acquire DynCorp unit

Deal expected today for vaccines division

August 11, 1999|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Novavax Inc., a Columbia biotechnology company developing hormone replacement creams and vaccine boosters, is expected to acquire the vaccine development division of technology giant DynCorp Inc. today.

John Spears, president and chief financial officer for Novavax, declined to disclose financial terms of the agreement, but said the company is purchasing DynCorp's biomedical services laboratory division at a discount. The privately held Reston, Va., company focuses heavily on providing information technology and technical services to federal agencies.

The biomedical unit provided contract research on vaccines for the National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies. Included in the deal are those contracts and the division's 12,000-square-foot laboratory and vaccine manufacturing facility in Rockville.

The acquisition will add $2 million annually in contract work to Novavax's revenue, Spears said. Novavax, which has no approved products on the market, lost $881,000 on $76,000 in revenue for the quarter that ended March 31.

"There are some nice synergies between the two of us which we hope to leverage and exploit," Spears said.

Publicly held Novavax hopes to marry its vaccine booster technology with vaccines that DynCorp's division is working on.

Among the projects Novavax may target as a result of the deal, said Spears, are a vaccine for treating colon cancer and vaccines to prevent hepatitis B and human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer.

Spears said Novavax, which employs 14, also was excited about gaining DynCorp's 26 vaccine scientists. Those scientists include Dr. Louis Pottash, who is well known for his work on polio and flu vaccines in the 1950s.

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