BioSante's Bird Flu Vaccine Booster Works in Mice

BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BPAX) said its experimental chemical booster made potential vaccines against bird flu more effective in mice.

The product, BioVant, is designed to be combined with immunizations to produce an improved response, Lincolnshire, Illinois-based BioSante said today in a statement. Mice given the booster along with antigens to ward off bird flu made more antibodies to neutralize the virus after 16 weeks than those given antigens alone.

BioSante, a developer of hormone therapy and vaccine products, plans more pre-clinical trials on the calcium phosphate-based booster and hopes to attract a vaccine maker to use it in a new product, said Stephen M. Simes, the company's president and chief executive officer.

The booster ``may allow for better efficacy and lower doses per vaccination,'' Simes said today in the statement.

Shares of BioSante rose 9 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $3.49 at 4:16 p.m. New York time on the American Stock Exchange. The stock has lost 22 percent in the past 12 months.

The study tested the effectiveness of antigens, viral proteins that are the active ingredients in vaccine, because no immunization for the H5N1 strain of avian flu is yet available for people. Bird flu has infected 270 people, killing 164, since late 2003, according to figures released yesterday by the World Health Organization. Scientists are concerned that the strain could mutate into a highly contagious form that could infect people worldwide.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joi Preciphs in Washington at jpreciphs1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robert Simison at rsimison@bloomberg.net.

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