July 30, 2008

The Daily Record News Briefs: July 30, 2008

More bucks for Novavax

Novavax Inc., of Rockville, a drug delivery company developing vaccines to protect against H5N1 pandemic influenza, seasonal flu and other viral diseases, announced it will sell more than 6.6 million units, consisting of shares of common stock and warrants to purchase shares, to certain current and new institutional shareholders and affiliates, at a price of $2.68 per unit. Novavax said it expects to net $17.6 million, after expenses, to be used for vaccine development, research and development programs, working capital and other purposes.

Research funds for ImQuest

ImQuest BioSciences, of Frederick, a developer of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer, announced it will receive a two-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to support the development of a therapeutic gel product that can be topically applied by women to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. ImQuest said the grant will pay for research to enable scientists to evaluate and define the most potent candidate for advanced preclinical and clinical development.

FiOS coming to Rockville

Verizon said it expects to begin construction in the fall of an all-fiber network in Rockville that will carry its high-speed FiOS TV and Internet services to city households and businesses, following a vote Monday by the Rockville City Council authorizing Verizon to offer the fiber-optic service. Verizon said approximately 23,000 households will be able to receive FiOS within two years. Montgomery County awarded Verizon a 15-year franchise agreement in December 2006. Verizon currently offers FiOS to more than 138,000 households in Montgomery County.

Choice sees lower profit

Choice Hotels International Inc., of Silver Spring, a hotel franchise chain, said second-quarter earnings fell 6 percent due to a hefty charge related to speeding the transition of its new chief executive. Net income was $27 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, versus $28.6 million, or 43 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2007. Excluding the 6-cent per share one-time charge, earnings per share in this year's second quarter totaled 49 cents. The company also had roughly 6 percent fewer outstanding shares in this year's quarter. Revenue rose 7 percent to $167.1 million, from $156.5 million in the prior year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial forecast earnings of 47 cents per share on revenue of $164.2 million.

Hybrid users get a break

Towson University is offering a 50 percent discount on campus parking permits for students and staff members who drive hybrid vehicles. The year-round, all-day permit for students normally costs $240. Permit fees for faculty and staff members vary. The incentive is one of several environmentally friendly commuting initiatives at the university. Officials are working on car pools for staff members and students and plan to offer more buses for students living off- campus.

Lockheed-Iraq aircraft deal

Lockheed Martin Corp., of Bethesda, the world's largest defense company, may sell Iraq C-130J transport aircraft valued at as much as $1.5 billion. The transaction may include up to six planes and related equipment, according to a statement by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency that said Congress has been informed of the sale. The Iraqi Air Force plans to use the planes to support troops and provide humanitarian relief in various locations, the statement said.

Hospital may be college site

Easton Mayor Robert Willey says the Memorial Hospital building could be a possible site for a college branch campus. Economic Development Director Al Bond revealed last week that he is in talks with a college based outside the mid-Atlantic region about opening a branch in or near Easton, but Bond has not identified the school. Meanwhile, Shore Health System is considering an offer to move Memorial Hospital north of the city, to property owned by Talbot County. Willey says the town had not made an offer to Shore Health for use of the existing building.

Bridge's new China facility

Bridge Laboratories, of Gaithersburg, formerly called Bridge Global Pharmaceutical Services Inc., a preclinical contract research organization that provides U.S.-level drug development services in both the United States and Asia, said it has reached an agreement to build a 150,000-square-foot facility in Beijing. This will be the second preclinical facility in China, and will be built adjacent to Bridge's existing laboratory in the Zhongguancun Life Science Park. The new lab, designed to meet U.S. regulatory standards, is expected to be completed late in the fourth quarter 2009, and will provide toxicology, immunology, vaccine and bioanalytical services.

Lab opens in Frederick

Charles River Laboratories International Inc., of Wilmington, Mass., a provider of contract research and development services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and academic institutions worldwide, announced the opening of its 52,000- square-foot facility in Frederick. According to the company, the facility was built specifically to meet the needs of the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health. About 80 of the approximately 120 employees are focused on providing genetically defined, pathogen-free mice to support NCI/NIH-funded research targeting the causes and treatments of infectious and metabolic diseases, cancer and other health issues.

GenVec told to keep working

GenVec Inc. announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has executed the second option period under a three-year agreement with GenVec to support the development of vaccines for the prevention of foot-and-mouth disease. GenVec will receive up to $6.6 million to complete development activities under the option period. The funding increases the total value of GenVec's three-year agreement with DHS to $18.2 million from $17.5 million. Under the agreement, DHS is responsible for conducting animal studies at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located on an 840-acre island in New York's Long Island Sound. GenVec is responsible for the development, production and regulatory approval of the vaccine.

Nov. trial date in boy's bridge death

The trial of a Baltimore man who told authorities he threw his 3- year-old son off a bridge has been rescheduled for Nov. 6. The trial of Stephen Todd Nelson was scheduled to begin Tuesday, but was rescheduled at the request of the defense. The move came one day after Maryland Transportation Authority Police announced that DNA test results confirmed that a body found in the Patapsco River July 12 was that of Nelson's son, Turner Jordan Nelson. The body was found near the Seagirt Marine Terminal. Nelson said he threw the child from the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Feb. 3. Nelson is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse.

Fugitive from 1965 granted parole

Maryland officials have granted parole to 82-year-old Willie Parker, the fugitive who was returned to state custody in May after 43 years at large. Parker, however, has not been released. He remains held on a federal detainer for an old marijuana possession conviction. He will stay at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland while federal authorities decide what to do about his case. Parker suffers from several health problems. He only served about a quarter of his state robbery sentence before escaping from Maryland's Eastern Correctional Camp in 1965. He was found earlier this year living in Clinton, N.C.

MoCo speed cameras nab 20K a month

Montgomery County's speed cameras are catching nearly 20,000 speeders every month. The county is the first Maryland jurisdiction authorized to deploy the cameras. They are located in school zones and on residential streets with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. In the first nine months after they were installed, the cameras caught 178,000 speeders. Vehicles traveling at least 10 miles over the speed limit are issued $40 tickets. County officials say they collected more than $5 million in the first nine months, and they expect to collect more than $10 million in the next year.

Originally published by Daily Record Staff.

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