Company has been under threat of NASDAQ delisting since August.

Reports of a merger between Avant Immunotherapeutics and Celldex Therapeutics sent Avant’s shares up 30% in early morning trading. Less than two months ago, the company was forced to transfer its common stock to The NASDAQ Capital Market after receiving a deficiency letter.

The all-stock transaction will create a NASDAQ-listed firm under the name Avant. The deal is currently expected to close in the first quarter of 2008. Celldex and Avant shareholders will own 58% and 42% of the new entity, respectively.

The newly formed Avant will have a pipeline fueled by the identification of new mAbs based on Celldex’ APC Targeting Technology™ and Avant’s vector vaccine delivery, manufacturing, and preservation tools. Currently there are two compounds in Phase II trials, an immunotherapy for glioblastoma multiforme and a vaccine against cholera. Phase I candidates include a vaccine for typhoid fever and an immunotherapy for colorectal, pancreatic, and bladder cancers.

The combined company also has one commercialized product. Rotarix®, a two-dose oral vaccine against rotavirus, was developed with GlaxoSmithKline. It is approved in over 90 countries and is under review by the FDA. The company anticipates a response in the second half of 2008. Upon the U.S. launch of Rotarix, the new Avant will receive a $10 million milestone payment.

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