Shareholders stymie VaxGen, Raven merger

VaxGen and Raven Biotechnologies are backing out of their proposed merger after "stronger than anticipated opposition" from shareholders. The companies say that while they initially thought shareholders would go for the deal, it became apparent that they'd reject the plan. VaxGen develops drugs for the treatment and prevention of infectious disease, and Raven develops monoclonal antibody (MAb) therapeutics for cancer. Company officials hoped that the merger would put them at the forefront of the market for MAb cancer treatments.

"We are obviously very disappointed that the proposed merger with Raven was not approved by our stockholders," said James P. Panek, VaxGen President and CEO. "...[I]t has become quite clear that there is sufficient opposition, such that this merger will not be approved." The merger rejection is more bad news for VaxGen, which has been through three rounds of layoffs since the federal government canceled its $877 million anthrax vaccine contract.

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