health

Chiron Wins Contract for Bird Flu Vaccine

Chiron, the maker of the Fluvirin influenza vaccine, won a $62 million U.S. government contract to develop a vaccine against avian flu, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, right, said.

The contract would be for a vaccine against the H5N1 strain of avian flu, Chiron spokeswoman Alison Marquiss said.

Leavitt's department is preparing a detailed plan to counter a potential worldwide human outbreak in case the strain that is spreading among birds becomes contagious in people.

Microsoft said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 24 percent, to $3.14 billion, in the period ended Sept. 30. Revenue was $9.74 billion, up 6 percent from the comparable period a year ago.

Micros Systems, a Columbia company that sells software to hospitality and retail companies, earned $12.4 million (30 cents) in its first quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $9.7 million (25 cents) a year earlier. Revenue rose to $152 million from $130 million.

NeuStar of Sterling, which provides clearinghouse services to the communications industry, said third-quarter profit rose to $13.1 million (17 cents), from $9 million (11 cents) a year earlier. Revenue increased 40 percent, to $59 million from $45.2 million. The company credited higher demand for portability services, which allow people to take their phone numbers from one provider to another, and for network management services.

Nextel Partners, an affiliate of wireless carrier Sprint Nextel, said third-quarter profit jumped to $434.5 million, from $34.4 million in the comparable period a year ago, helped by higher revenue and a tax break. Revenue was $473.1 million, up 31 percent.

Verizon Communications' third-quarter profit edged up to $1.87 billion, from $1.8 billion in the comparable period a year ago. Revenue was $19.04 billion, up 5 percent.

The latest results included a net gain of $37 million from the sale of a New York office building as well as $115 million in tax benefits. Those gains were roughly offset by a $125 million expense relating to Verizon's investment in aircraft leases affected by recent airline bankruptcies.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.