Emergent BioSolutions, a Rockville company that makes the only federally approved anthrax vaccine, has received a big boost from regulators for its efforts to also sell the vaccine as an anthrax treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration has granted a fast-track designation for development of BioThrax to be used in combination with antibiotics as a treatment for people after they have been exposed to anthrax. The designation can speed up the development process with regulators.

The federal government has been scrambling to procure anthrax treatments and vaccines following an attack that shook the country in late 2001.

Emergent mainly sells BioThrax, which uses older vaccine technology, to the Defense Department to inoculate soldiers. The government is seeking a newer generation of anthrax vaccines for its federal stockpile, but initial efforts collapsed last year when officials canceled a contract with VaxGen, a California company.

Winning federal approval to use BioThrax as a post-exposure treatment could expand the product's revenue-generating possibilities.

"We are extremely pleased that the FDA has taken this step as we continue our efforts to expand the label indication for BioThrax to include, in combination with antibiotics, its use for post-exposure prophylaxis for anthrax infection," said Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and chief executive of Emergent BioSolutions.

Hospital President to LeaveDeborah A. Yancer, the longtime president of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, is leaving her position to become chief executive of Enloe Medical Center in California.

Yancer has led the Rockville hospital for seven years.

"Debi has had numerous accomplishments during her time with Adventist HealthCare, including overseeing the opening of Maryland's first freestanding emergency medical center in Germantown, and leading the planning and design for the new patient tower which opens in November at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital," said Bill Robertson, Adventist HealthCare's chief executive.

Yancer said, "It has been my privilege to serve our community alongside an incredible group of people, including the medical staff, leadership, staff and volunteers of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital."

Yancer will leave her position in mid-March. Dennis Hansen, the hospital's chief operating officer, will serve as interim president until a new leader can be found.

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