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PharmAthene will proceed with anthrax vaccine test

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- PharmAthene Inc. said Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration will allow it to proceed with new clinical trials of its experimental anthrax vaccine SparVax.

The FDA placed a clinical hold on a midstage trial of the vaccine in August, which prevented the company from starting the trial. PharmAthene said Thursday that the hold has been lifted because it had addressed the FDA's concerns. The FDA wanted more information about the vaccine's stability.

SparVax is intended to protect against anthrax infection whether it is given before or after a person is exposed to the anthrax bacterium. PharmAthene is developing the vaccine with aid from several federal agencies. The company is also studying Valortim, a different type of treatment for anthrax prevention and infection, and a drug intended to treat exposure to chemical nerve agents.

Shares of PharmAthene rose 7 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $1.88 in midday trading.