Vical on Fast Pace With Animal Tests of Prototype Swine Flu Vaccine

An experimental swine flu vaccine from San Diego’s Vical (NASDAQ: VICL) produced “robust immune responses” in animal tests, the company reports. Vical says it can proceed to large-scale manufacturing and human tests if it receives funding. Getting regulatory approval of the prototype vaccine is another matter. Nevertheless, the company’s shares surged 50 cents, or more than 20 percent, to close at $2.70 in Nasdaq trading that was 14 times Vical’s recent average daily volume.

The biotech says at least 75 percent of mice and rabbits reached or exceeded the protection threshold after a single dose. All animals achieved or surpassed the threshold after two doses. Vical is developing its vaccine under an agreement with the Navy.

Vical produced its DNA-based vaccine after receiving a swine flu sample from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 30. The vaccine was produced on May 11 and animal tests began May 15. CEO Vijay Samant noted in a statement that Vical was ahead of conventional vaccine developers, which are still working on their initial supplies of swine flu vaccine. Flu vaccine is conventionally made in chicken eggs.

Denise Gellene is a former Los Angeles Times science writer and regular contributor to Xconomy. You can reach her at [email protected] Follow @

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