ID Biomedical Corp. could receive up to C$30 million (US$23.1 million) through a Canadian government contract for its meningitis C vaccine.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company was selected to supply the vaccine over the next two years with a guarantee of C$20 million in purchases, and the Canadian government retained an option to purchase additional product from the company in the third and final year of the contract for an additional C$10 million.

The contract was awarded by Public Works Canada on behalf of health ministries, and covers all Canadian provinces and territories except Quebec, which has its own meningitis C vaccine-distribution program.

ID Biomedical expects to deliver about 1 million doses of NeisVac-C, a meningitis C conjugate vaccine, during the first two years of the pact.

The product first received Canadian approval in January 2002 as a three-dose regimen, and in May, ID Biomedical received approval for a two-dose regimen for infants between 2 months and 12 months. NeisVac-C is the only two-dose regimen meningitis C vaccine available in Canada; it is indicated for the active immunization of children from 2 months of age and older, as well as adolescents and adults for the prevention of invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C.

The product is based on technology discovered by the National Research Council of Canada. ID Biomedical has exclusive rights to the product, and entered a distribution agreement with Baxter Healthcare Corp. for the Canadian distribution of NeisVac-C vaccine. Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter markets it worldwide, as the vaccine is approved in 20 countries.

ID Biomedical's vaccine-related affiliation with the Canadian government is nothing new, as the company in 2001 received a 10-year mandate from the government to assure a state of readiness in case of an influenza pandemic and to provide influenza vaccine for all Canadians in such an event. It also supplies more than 75 percent of flu vaccine to the Canadian public market; the product, Fluviral, is produced at a facility in Quebec City. The manufacturing site is being expanded in a C$45 million effort to handle more capacity as ID Biomedical eyes more markets, such as the U.S., company spokeswoman Michele Roy told BioWorld Today.

Last week, the company completed its $120 million acquisition of the vaccines business of Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Basingstoke, UK. The deal was first reported in the spring. (See BioWorld Today, April 21, 2004.)

On Monday, ID Biomedical's stock (NASDAQ:IDBE) fell 15 cents to close at $12.88.

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