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Vical Inc.’s (VICL - Snapshot Report) shares gained 7.1% immediately after the company reported narrower-than-expected loss per share in the first quarter of 2014. However, shares declined 4.1% in the following two trading sessions. Overall, shares were up 2.7% since the company released first-quarter results.  

The company posted a loss of 4 cents per share in the first quarter of 2014, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 6 cents per share and the year-ago loss of 11 cents per share.

Total revenue for the reported quarter was $2.4 million, up 55.5% from the year-ago quarter. The increase in revenues was due to higher payments from Astellas Pharma Inc. (ALPMY) under an exclusive license agreement for the development of ASP0113. Revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2 million.

The Quarter in Detail

Research and development (R&D) expenses decreased 41.2% to $2.1 million from the year-ago quarter.

General and administrative (G&A) expenses also decreased 35.5% to $2.3 million from the year-ago quarter.

Vical continues to focus on the development of its pipeline. The company completed patient enrolment in the first two dose escalation cohorts for a phase I/II study on its Vaxfectin-formulated therapeutic vaccine for herpes simplex virus type II (HSV-2). The study will evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of the vaccine in 156 patients aged between 18 years to 50 years.

Vical and Astellas are conducting four studies on ASP0113 – a phase III registration study in cytomegalovirus (CMV) seropositive patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) recipients, a phase II study in kidney transplant recipients (expected to be completed in the first half of 2017), a phase II study in Japanese HCT recipients and a phase I pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity study in dialysis patients in the U.S. ASP0113 has orphan drug designation in the U.S. and the EU.

Impax continues to expect net cash burn in the range of $13−$16 million in 2014. In the reported quarter, Impax’s net cash burn was consistent with the earlier guidance.  

Vical holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN - Analyst Report) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD - Analyst Report). Both carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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