Bat­tered and weary, Vi­cal flags for help fol­low­ing its line­up of lemons

Vi­cal’s in trou­ble again. The San Diego drug­mak­er is wav­ing the white flag this morn­ing fol­low­ing a bar­rage of dis­ap­point­ments, post­ing a pub­lic no­tice that it’s seek­ing strate­gic guid­ance.

The com­pa­ny has suf­fered two ma­jor re­cent set­backs, and a his­to­ry that re­minds us that most biotechs fail. It was forced to re­struc­ture about six months ago in the af­ter­math of a crit­i­cal Phase III fail­ure test­ing its DNA vac­cine ASP0113. When that pro­gram fell through, Vi­cal laid off 40 of its 72 staffers at the time, and re­fo­cused on a dif­fer­ent pipeline pro­gram: a vac­cine for her­pes sim­plex virus type 2. Then that failed on­ly months lat­er.

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