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Vical Receives Milestone Payment from Merck & Co., Inc. Triggered by Planned Initiation of Investigational Cancer DNA Vaccine Trial

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Vical Incorporated (Nasdaq: VICL) announced today the receipt of a $1.0 million milestone payment from Merck & Co., Inc. based on Merck's planned initiation of a Phase I clinical trial of an investigational plasmid DNA (pDNA) cancer vaccine. The candidate vaccine is based on Vical's DNA gene delivery technology and encodes human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT). hTERT is the subject of separate license agreement.

"The breadth of applications for Vical's gene delivery technology continues to grow, and now encompasses vaccine candidates against infectious diseases and cancer, cancer immunotherapies, and gene-based angiogenesis for cardiovascular diseases," said Vijay B. Samant, Vical's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are pleased that our long-standing partner Merck is expanding to a second clinical-stage evaluation of our technology in the cancer area."

About Vical

Vical researches and develops biopharmaceutical products based on its patented DNA delivery technologies for the prevention and treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases. Potential applications of the company's DNA delivery technology include DNA vaccines for infectious diseases or cancer, in which the expressed protein is an immunogen; cancer immunotherapeutics, in which the expressed protein is an immune system stimulant; and cardiovascular therapies, in which the expressed protein is an angiogenic growth factor. The company is developing certain infectious disease vaccines and cancer therapeutics internally. In addition, the company collaborates with major pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies that give it access to complementary technologies or greater resources. These strategic partnerships provide the company with mutually beneficial opportunities to expand its product pipeline and address significant unmet medical needs. Additional information on Vical is available at

This press release contains forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, including: whether Merck will complete the Phase I clinical trial of its cancer vaccine; whether genes encoding hTERT will trigger immune responses against cancer cells; whether the cancer vaccine will be shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials; whether Vical or its collaborative partners will seek or gain approval to market any product candidates; whether Vical or its collaborative partners will succeed in marketing any product candidates; and additional risks set forth in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent the company's judgment as of the date of this release. The company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

    Contact:  Alan R. Engbring
    (858) 646-1127


SOURCE Vical Incorporated
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