Vical has reported the receipt of a $1 million milestone payment from Merck, based on Merck's initiation of a Phase I clinical trial of a DNA cancer vaccine. The vaccine is based on Vical's DNA gene-delivery technology, and uses plasmid DNA and carcinoembryonic antigen. The trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine.
In June, Merck exercised options on three cancer targets, triggering a $3.0 million payment to Vical. In September, Merck was granted additional cancer vaccine options in exchange for non-exclusive, sublicenseable rights for vaccines against HIV, giving both companies freedom to operate in the field.