AVANT to develop an oral anthrax and plague vaccine for U.S. Department of Defense

This release has been updated as of Monday January 21st.

NEEDHAM, MA (January 22, 2003): AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVAN) today announced it has been awarded a subcontract to develop for the U.S. Department of Defense an oral combination vaccine against anthrax and plague using AVANT's proprietary vaccine technologies. Under the agreement, AVANT may receive in excess of $8 million over a two-year period, covering vaccine development through preclinical testing. AVANT executed the subcontract with DynPort Vaccine Company LLC ("DVC"), the prime contractor for the Defense Department's Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (JVAP). Headquartered in Fort Detrick, MD, JVAP is the lead Defense Department organization for the development and purchase of vaccines for the U.S. military.

"This contract represents one of the first awards from a major U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiative to apply modern biotechnological innovations to the development of vaccines that can offer rapid, effective protection from multiple biological agents," said Una S. Ryan, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. "Current vaccines against bacterial bioweapons like anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) and plague (Yersinia pestis) require a protracted dosing regimen or provide only limited protection, and each vaccine protects against only a single agent. The Defense Department is looking for new, improved generation vaccines that are effective, single-dose, and can protect against multiple agents. The choice of AVANT to conduct this development program is an important recognition of the strength of AVANT's vaccine and vector technologies for accomplishing these aims."

"This contract is very important to AVANT since it provides non-dilutive funding to the company and it means that AVANT now has over two years of cash and cash equivalents on hand," Dr. Ryan concluded.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Ranking Dem

Contact: Joan Kureczka
Kureczka/Martin Associates

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