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14 November, 2006 - 10:27 By Staff Reporter

Acambis shares take a tumble as it loses out to fierce rival

Shares in Cambridge based Acambis plc have fallen 36.1 per cent after news that they are out of the running for a key US government contract to supply smallpox vaccine.The fall came after an announcement that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified Acambis yesterday that they had reviewed the firm's proposal and found that it was no longer in the competitive range for award, according to Acambis.

The contract, initiated under the US government's stockpiling scheme, was to supply 10-20 million doses of Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA), a vaccine designed for patients with an immune system too weak to be exposed to a full dose.

It is thought that Acambis' competitor for the contract, Danish company Bavarian Nordic, will now win the entire contract. This news boosted the company's share price 20 per cent, although a spokesperson for Bavarian said they had not received any notification from the HHS.

Acambis said it plans to request a meeting to gain further clarification, following which it will consider its options. The US Government has indicated that it intends to continue Acambis' existing MVA contracts at their current price and scope.

"We are surprised that the US Government would eliminate Acambis from the RFP process. We believe that our proposal would have met the requirements of the US Government, especially given Acambis' track record in the biodefence field" said Gordon Cameron, Acambis' CEO.

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