Early Briefing: Emergent Posts Profit, Stock Falls

*Emergent Biosolutions, the Rockville biotech that is supplying the U.S. government with 18.75 million doses of anthrax vaccine, has had its share of successes and setbacks in the last few years. Yesterday, it experienced both. The company reported a second-quarter profit thanks to high sales of BioThrax, the only anthrax vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Then its stock fell about 24 percent, closing at $10.64.

Stephen G. Brozak, president of WBB Securities, said investors weren't reacting to the quarter's results, but rather a herd instinct to sell. "You're looking at a few people who got in at the beginning of the year and made a lot of money," he said. "And the unfortunate part is that Wall Street distorts things."

*The president of the Washington Teachers Union all but ruled out acceptance of a proposal by D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee that would require tenured teachers to spend a year on probation in exchange for huge salary increases and bonuses.

George Parker said Rhee's measure would unfairly deprive teachers of due process rights and expose them to arbitrary firing by principals. He said the provision is a major obstacle to reaching tentative agreement on a new contract. He also suggested in an interview, for the first time since talks began late last year, that city and union negotiators may have to settle for "some type of traditional agreement."

*The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has found it hard to say no to churches.

The board approved an exception late last year for Fireside Wesleyan Church to hook up to a sewer line in an 80,000-acre swath of the county protected from development. In March, Park Valley Church sought a zoning change that would allow it to build in the Rural Crescent and hook up to sewer. It, too, was approved.

Rapidly growing places of worship are threatening sound planning and contributing to sprawl, according to a recent study.

*Lawyers for a downtown church filed a federal lawsuit yesterday, saying the city violated the Constitution when it protected the building from demolition by granting it landmark status. Members of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, at 16th and I streets NW, say the massive concrete structure is bunker-like and unwelcoming, and they want to raze it so they can build a new one.

By Terri Rupar  |  August 8, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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