September 3, 2009 / 12:11 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Vical gets new patent for flu vaccine, shares jump

* Patent gives broad coverage for seasonal, pandemic flu

* Shares jump 23 pct to a new two-year high

By Anuradha Ramanathan

BANGALORE, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Vical Inc (VICL.O) said it received a new U.S. patent covering its Vaxfectin-formulated DNA vaccines for any seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses, sending its shares to a new two-year high.

The company is developing vaccines for the H5N1 avian flu strain and the new H1N1 flu, known as swine flu, using its Vaxfectin adjuvant, which has immune-enhancing ability, Vical said in a statement.

Shares of the company have more than tripled in the past six months since the onset of the swine flu pandemic in April.

“Flu is on everyone’s mind right now. It’s unclear how much of an issue H1N1 flu is going to be this fall,” Needham and Co analyst Alan Carr said. “So that certainly has brought a lot of attention to biotech companies that are working on flu vaccines.”

Carr has a “buy” rating and $8 price target on the stock.

Vaxfectin-formulated H5N1 influenza DNA vaccines completed early-stage human testing in 2008, it said.

Shares of the company were up 93 cents, or 21 percent, at $5.34 Thursday morning on Nasdaq. They touched a high of $5.43 earlier in the session. (Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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