Argos Therapeutics slashes staff in the wake of the latest cancer vaccine flop

Two weeks after Argos Therapeutics saw its Phase III trial of its personalized cancer vaccine rocapuldencel-T end in disaster, the Durham, NC-based biotech is taking the obvious next step, cutting its workforce by 38% as it regroups and looks for a path forward.

Argos filed an 8-K explaining that the board decided on Wednesday to lay off 46 staffers, leaving a workforce of 76 employees. HR chief Joan C. Winterbottom is joining the exodus.

Argos says that it has to carefully evaluate the data from the study and talk things over with the FDA before deciding the fate of its cancer vaccine. But an interim analysis concluded that the program wasn’t helping patients, making this the latest in a long series of cancer vaccines to flounder in the clinic. The news eviscerated the company’s share price.

Argos platform tech is designed to arm dendritic cells to go after cancer, something that has repeatedly flopped in the clinic. Argos also failed with an HIV effort in 2015.

Argos shares are down about 7% this morning, trading around $1.25 — just a fraction of its former worth.

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