Vical Shares Rise on Merck Vaccine News
Vical Inc. shares soared on news that Merck & Co. will soon begin human tests of an AIDS vaccine that uses DNA technology developed by Vical. San Diego-based Vical has agreements with Merck for the use of its so-called naked DNA technology in experimental vaccines for seven diseases, including HIV. Vical’s method allows for direct injection of genetic material into muscle tissue, where more traditional methods use viruses to carry DNA into cells. Vical’s agreement with Merck also covers experimental vaccines Merck is developing for herpes simplex, hepatitis B and C, influenza, tuberculosis and human papilloma virus. Shares in the San Diego-based company rose $3.69 to close at $14.75 on Nasdaq. Merck shares rose 88 cents to close at $67.62 on the New York Stock Exchange.