Univax Biologics Inc. said Monday that it will test its vaccinesusing Nova Pharmaceutical Corp.'s Liposphere technology as adelivery system.

The Rockville, Md., company (NASDAQ:UNVX) hopes Nova'stechnology will enhance the effectiveness of its vaccines, forexample by allowing the use of lower doses of antigen. Inpreclinical studies, the potency of Univax's anti-endotoxinvaccine was increased seven- to eightfold when it wasincorporated into the Lipospheres, according to Univax.

Univax plans to test other vaccines. The company is developingvaccines to treat Staphylococcus aureus, group B Streptococcus,Pseudomonas and other diseases.

Lipospheres are a cross between liposomes and microspheres,said Hans Mueller, president and chief executive at Nova(NASDAQ:NOVX). Lipospheres consist of a phospholipidmembrane and a solid inner core of a biodegradable material inwhich drugs are embedded.

"The agreement is an early-stage research agreement toexplore the utility of the technology," said Mueller. "If it works,we would probably move to a more significant arrangement."

Nova of Baltimore has focused on use of Lipospheres to deliverdrugs for pain. The company plans to submit in the first half ofthis year an investigational new drug application with the FDAto begin clinical trials of bupivacaine in Lipospheres as a localanesthetic for pain management following surgery.

Univax shares were down 88 cents to $10.25 on Monday. Novawas unchanged at $7.75. -- Karen Bernstein

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