SAN DIEGO - Biotechnology company Vical Inc. said today that it received a $1.5 million milestone payment from Merck & Co. for development of a DNA-based cancer vaccine.

Merck, which is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and has operations in the Philadelphia area, is conducting early-stage clinical tests of the cancer vaccine, which was developed by Vical.

Vical is a development stage company, and its product candidates include a swine flu vaccine treatment.

The company reported $8 million in revenue in 2008, which included a $1 million milestone payment from Merck in December.