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After being smacked down to as low as a two-star rank late last year, enough top-performing CAPS members have turned bullish on Vical (NASDAQ:VICL) recently to upgrade it to four stars. A total of 102 members have given their opinion on the biopharmaceutical drugmaker, with many offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

Many CAPS members like the direction Vical is headed with the development of its DNA-based vaccines and disease treatments, although many are still in early stages. The company believes its DNA vaccine technology has the potential to greatly improve therapies and offers big advantages over conventional vaccines. With collaborations with companies like Merck (NYSE:MRK), sanofi-aventis (NYSE:SNY), and Novartis (NYSE:NVS), Vical has a strong pipeline of treatments that can be used on humans and animals.                                 

The company recently completed enrollment of phase 3 trials for its Allovectin-7 metastatic melanoma treatment, which is one of its clinical programs that's closest to commercialization. While companies like Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) have failed to enter the melanoma treatment market, others like Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) are making efforts, and Electro-Optical Sciences (NASDAQ:MELA) is developing a promising melanoma detection device. Even with its orphan-drug status, Vical estimates that the worldwide market for Allovectin-7 for metastatic melanoma could surpass $500 million a year.

While swine flu hype has faded, the company was still able to land funding from the U.S. Navy, since Vical's DNA technology, which helps speed a vaccine's development and production, could give the company a significant role in any future pandemics. Since Vical has several irons in the fire, many CAPS members like its chances for success.

Do you think Vical deserves its improved status? Add your thoughts in the comments box below on this page, or head over to CAPS to rate the company and check out all the information and opinions the community offers, absolutely free.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock recently upgraded his casual attire with a few functional and fashionable hats. He owns shares of Pfizer, which is an Inside Value pick. Novartis is a Global Gains recommendation. The Fool has bought calls on Electro-Optical Sciences. A night in the drunk tank has changed the Fool's disclosure policy's perspective on life tremendously.