$20 million soap opera continues

WASHINGTON - AIDS vaccine companies considering participation in an NIH-sponsored multi-vaccine trial were caught by surprise by the news that the hotly contested funds for the study had been returned to the Army for a trial of MicroGeneSys Inc.'s VaxSyn gp160 vaccine.

Although MicroGeneSys did not divulge the trial until last week, the Army notified the company two months ago that responsibility would revert from the NIH to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, said MicroGeneSys Chairman Franklin Volvovitz.

Deal with AHP

MicroGeneSys then reached an agreement with American Home Products Corp. (AHP), which is providing management support for MicroGenesys' clinical trials, to have its Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories division donate sufficient quantities of VaxSyn for the 5,000 to 10,000 patients who will be enrolled in the Phase III trial, he said.