Covalent Group Awarded $1.1 Million Contract to Study Counter-Bioterrorism Vaccine


WAYNE, Pa. -- Covalent Group, Inc. today announced that it has signed a new contract with DynPort Vaccine Company LLC (DVC) for a Phase I study in the development of a recombinant vaccine designed to provide protection against botulinum neurotoxin. The $1.1 million contract value of this award was included in Covalent's new business announcement dated Dec. 15, 2003.

Botulinum neurotoxins, known primarily for causing cases of foodborne botulism, are produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and the related species Clostridium baratii and Clostridium butyricum. These bacteria produce seven distinct types of botulinum neurotoxins. Most cases of botulism occur when a person swallows a substance that contains the neurotoxin. The neurotoxin then passes through the gastrointestinal tract and into the blood until it eventually reaches peripheral nerve endings where it has the capability to paralyze muscles, including those needed to breathe. The ultimate result can be death.

Kenneth M. Borow, MD, Covalent Group's president and CEO, commented, "We are delighted to begin this relationship with DVC. In the post September 11, 2001 world, a vaccine against botulinum neurotoxins has become a priority as part of our nation's capabilities to fight worldwide terror. Winning this highly competitive bid represents an important step for Covalent Group. Our expertise in the regulatory requirements, conceptualization and design, and operational conduct of vaccine trials is a longstanding strength of our company. Our vaccine capabilities nicely complement our extensive experience in the clinical development of biologics and gene therapy products. Pending the results of the current Phase I study, other clinical trials using this vaccine would be required as part of its overall development program. We look forward to the opportunity of working closely with DVC on this and other vaccine development programs in the future."

DynPort Vaccine Company LLC is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and licensure of safe and efficacious biodefense vaccines for the U.S. Department of Defense through the Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (JVAP), and civilian populations. DVC is a joint venture between Computer Sciences Corporation, one of the world's leading information technology (IT) service companies, and Porton International, Inc., a leading vaccine development company focused on the development of biodefense vaccines.

Covalent Group is a clinical research organization that is a leader in the design and management of complex clinical trials for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries.

Source: Covalent Group, Inc.

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