Novavax Receives SARS Vaccine Funding From NIH

MALVERN, Pa. -- Novavax, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced it received a three year contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) vaccine using its proprietary Virus Like

Particle (VLP) technology.  The grant for $1,069,789 over three years will assist Novavax in its development of a VLP vaccine for proof of concept studies in preparation for human trials.


"The SARS vaccine project extends our vaccine technology into another

important emerging disease indication. Our proprietary VLP technology, and its

clinical advantages, are gaining acceptance among vaccine experts as an

alternative to traditional vaccine technology," said Nelson M. Sims, president

and CEO of Novavax Inc. "The vaccine program will be an important contributor to

the value of Novavax's development pipeline."


Novavax conducts an extensive proprietary vaccine development and contract

research program led by Gale Smith, PhD, an authority on vaccine and insect

cell technology, from its facilities in Rockland, Md.


"This new funding will expand our number of VLP projects in development to

four, including projects for HIV/AIDS, pandemic flu, and annual flu. The

support from the NIH for our VLP technology increases awareness of VLP

vaccines as a viable alternative to the current egg based or cell culture

technologies," said Smith, vice president of vaccine development for Novavax Inc.


SARS is a severe form of pneumonia, accompanied by a fever, caused by a

coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 8,098 SARS cases

and approximately 774 deaths since the first case of SARS was reported in

February 2003.


Novavax's VLP technology uses recombinant protein technology to imitate

the structure of a virus to provide protection without the risk of infection

or disease.  Novavax's proprietary production technology lowers the cost and

eliminates the labor intensive nature of the traditional egg based process by

using insect cells. The VLP technology produces safe and effective vaccine

products through an aseptic process that reduces contamination risk and

produces high, cost-effective yields.  A key advantage of the technology is

the ability to rapidly respond to emerging threats or new strains.


Novavax also performs research and development services on traditional

vaccines including tolerogen proteins as a preventative therapy for the

inflammation-causing immune responses that are believed to contribute to

stroke and cardiovascular disease. In December 2004 Novavax received a

contract to manufacture E-selectin tolerogen for a Phase I clinical trial

conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at

the NIH (NINDS/NIH) in patients at risk for secondary stroke.


Source: Novavax, Inc.