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Vical Incorporated (VICL - Snapshot Report) reported a loss of 3 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2013, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago loss of 9 cents per share.

Total revenues in the reported quarter were $3.15 million, up 34.7% from the year-ago quarter and above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2 million. Revenues comprise contract and grants revenues and licence and royalty revenues.

Loss per share in 2013 was 36 cents, up 33.3% from 2012, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate loss of 41 cents.

Revenues declined 55.9% to $7.7 million but surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6 million. The year-ago figure included a $10 million milestone payment from partner Astellas Pharma, Inc. (ALPMY) related to the development of ASP0113.

The Quarter in Detail

Research and development (R&D) expenses decreased 26.5% to $2.5 million from the year-ago quarter.

General and administrative (G&A) expenses also decreased 37% to $1.7 million from the year-ago quarter.

Vical continues to focus on the development of its pipeline. In Dec 2013, Vical started a phase I/II study of the therapeutic vaccine formulated with Vaxfectin, for herpes simplex virus type 2 that causes genital herpes. The study is evaluating safety, tolerability and efficacy of the vaccine in 156 patients aged 18 to 50 years.

Vical, in collaboration with Astellas, has commenced a phase III study on ASP0113, which will evaluate the survival rate of CMV seropositive patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT).

Meanwhile, a phase II study on ASP0113 is under progress to evaluate its efficacy in cytomegalovirus (CMV)-seronegative patients who have received a kidney from a CMV-seropositive donor.

Net cash burn is expected to be $13 million - $16 million in 2014.

Vical carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the biotechnology sector include Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) and Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB - Analyst Report). Both these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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