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Acambis patent boost

Transcripts reveal that ITC could come down on side of UK firm in dispute over smallpox vaccine

Shares in Acambis received a boost after lawyers from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) appeared to back the UK vaccine maker in its dispute with Danish rival, Bavarian Nordic, over patents for a smallpox vaccine.

The ITC released transcripts of the public sessions of a hearing on the case concerning the vaccine, called MVA.

Analyst Jonathan Senior at Evolution Securities told Reuters that although the ITC was yet to make a judgment, in its opening statement it had come down on the side of Acambis, saying the firm ìdidn't have a case to answerî.

ìThey're saying Bavarian Nordic's patents are not valid,î he said.

Acambis and Bavarian Nordic are fiercely competing for a lucrative US government contract to supply the vaccine.

In May, Acambis and US marketing partner Baxter, which manufactures the MVA vaccine, MVA3000, in Austria, filed opposition to a European patent granted to Bavarian Nordic regarding a weakened form of the vaccine, targeted at those who are immunocompromised, including those with HIV. Bavarian Nordic had claimed the two companies would be infringing its patents if they sell their smallpox vaccine to the US government.

ITC lawyers, acting as a third party, have told the ITC judge that Bavarian Nordic's patents are invalid and also unenforceable.

The ITC judge's initial determination on the case is expected around the end of August.

30th September 2008

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