Acambis warns of delay in US contract

Acambis, the biotech group whose fortunes were transformed by orders for a smallpox vaccine, admitted yesterday that it has suffered delays to its flagship contract to supply the US government.

The disappointment overshadowed news that the company has signed two more contracts with countries concerned about the threat of a bioterrorist attack.

Some £25m of revenue that had been expected to come through before Christmas will now be delayed into next year, after Acambis found itself unable to carry out the necessary testing on batches of the smallpox vaccine, which is made from cowpox.

John Brown, the chief executive, said: "We had a shortage of a chemical agent used in the testing, so we had the product backed up waiting to be tested. The revenue of $428m [£273m] from the contract is staying the same, the margins are staying the same, but some of the money that we said would come in during the fourth quarter of this year will now come in during the first quarter of next year."

The news sent Acambis shares down more than 10 per cent in early trading, but they recovered to close off only 4 per cent at 250.5p as analysts maintained their bullish stance. Nomura had been forecasting a maiden profit of £8.1m for 2002, and while that has now been reduced to £1.6m, the 2003 profit figure has grown from £27.7m to £36.1m.

Mr Brown refused to identify the two countries who have signed contracts for the supply of smallpox vaccine, but said they would be "small in comparison" with the US deal. Analysts expect revenues will be in "single-figure millions" of dollars.

A third country, Austria, has signalled its intention to buy smallpox vaccine from Acambis, but it is yet to sign a deal.

The US had a small supply deal with Acambis which it expanded after 11 September last year as fears grew that terrorists could use smallpox as a biological weapon. It is now buying 209 million doses, enough to inoculate every citizen.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before