Vical Inc. (NASDAQ: VICL) surged higher out of the gate Thursday after scoring a U.S. patent for its pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines, including those to shield against H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (avian flu). Both treatments use Vical's patented Vaxfectin adjuvant, which helps to boost immunity.
While the H5N1 vaccine has completed early-stage human trials, the H1N1 vaccine has yet to be tested on human subjects. Positive results have been recorded from tests conducted on mice and rabbits, but VICL said earlier this year that it will require more funding to begin large-scale trials on humans.
VICL shares have already soared nearly 213% year-to-date, and the equity quickly rallied to a gain of 22.4% Thursday morning, reaching a new 52-week high of $5.43.
Judging by the stock's healthy short-to-float ratio, there should be no shortage of sideline cash to help fuel today's gains. Short interest accounts for nearly 6% of VICL's float, or roughly 3.30 times its average daily trading volume.