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Biotechnology company Novavax Inc. said Thursday that it is a contender with the Department of Health and Human Services for a flu contract.

The company is developing new vaccines for swine flu and for other flu strains and respiratory diseases, products that are several years away from reaching the market.

Shares of Novavax rose 18 cents, or 7.2 percent, to $2.69 in premarket trading.

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