National Editor

Wall Street whacked 44.2 percent of the share price off Large Scale Biology Corp. after the company disclosed Friday it would "re-evaluate" its proteomics contract research business.

The Vacaville, Calif.-based company's stock (NASDAQ:LSBC) dropped $1.23 to close at $1.55, even though Kevin Ryan, LSBC's president, noted that the winding down of the company's toxicoproteomics contract with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is "entirely consistent with the previously announced re-focusing of the company on commercializing vaccines and protein-based pharmaceutical products."

Ryan explained in a press release that the idea was to take another look at the 2Dimensional gel fee-for-service proteomic research pursuits, "with the potential for attendant cost reduction."

In July 2002, LSBC said it was awarded a five-year contract with expected revenues of $12.25 million from the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, N.C. The contract was with the National Center for Toxicogenomics, with work to be performed at LSBC's Germantown, Md., proteomics facility. LSBC was enlisted to use its ProGEx protein expression analysis technology in the effort. The company's stock rose 26.7 percent, or 39 cents, on that news, closing at $1.78.

The company's stock took a more recent swing skyward in late October, when shares rose 31 cents, or 23.9 percent, to close at $1.61 on the day the firm said it had entered an exclusive collaboration with Schering-Plough Animal Health Corp. (SPAH), the worldwide animal health care business of Schering-Plough Corp., of Kenilworth, N.J., to evaluate several vaccines for control of viral infections in animals.

In that deal, LSBC will produce trial quantities of vaccine antigens using its Geneware biomanufacturing platform, and SPAH will evaluate the vaccines for efficacy and safety in clinical models.