GeoVax, a privately held biotech company that has licensed potential AIDS vaccine technology from Emory University, is merging with an Illinois firm.

GeoVax will become part of publicly traded Dauphin Technology, which has been idle since 2003. As part of the merger, Dauphin will change its name to GeoVax Labs, Inc. and seek a new trading symbol.

Once the merger is complete, Emory would be the largest single shareholder in the firm with some 31 percent of the stock. Emory currently owns 48 percent of the stock in GeoVax.

Donald Hildebrand will become chief executive officer of the merged firm. He is CEO and co-founder of GeoVax.

In order for the merger to proceed, Dauphin must have $13 million in cash to serve as operating capital, the companies said.

GeoVax, which has received $5 million in private equity funding and more than $21 million in grants, said the merger will help provide funds for clinical trials of its proposed AIDS vaccine.

GeoVax was launched in 2001 by Hildebrand, who is a microbiologist, and Harriet Robinson, a microbiologist and immunologist at Emory.