Drug Development

Lead vaccine from Vical and Astellas flops in a Phase II herpes study

San Diego-based Vical $VICL says that its lead vaccine ASP0113 flopped in a Phase II study designed to thwart herpes in kidney transplant patients. The vaccine, partnered with Astellas in a $135 million deal that dates back to 2011, was supposed to knock down the proportion of patients having CMV infections, or viremia. But it failed the primary as well as secondary endpoints in the trial.

Vical’s shares dropped 18% in pre-market trading this morning.

Vijay Samant, CEO Vical

The developers, though, are remaining committed to a Phase III study of ASP0113 in hematopoietic cell transplant patients.

“We are pleased with our collaborative relationship with Astellas, and we look forward to the results from the pivotal Phase III study in HCT recipients, which we expect to obtain during the fourth quarter of 2017,” said Vical CEO Vijay Samant.

Vical, which has a $35 million market cap, created the DNA vaccine by encoding CMV phosphoprotein 65 and glycoprotein B antigens with an eye to kicking up an immune response against the virus.


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