R&D

Strike 3: Vical axes its only remaining clinical program, completing a trifecta of disasters

Vical is once again turning to the only tool it evidently knows how to use expertly: the budget ax.

Following back-to-back clinical failures leading up to the summer of 2018, Vical says it has now decided to shelve a Phase II study of the antifungal VL‑2397, citing its desire to conserve cash as it plays out its strategic review. There evidently was also a problem with recruitment for the Phase II, according to the biotech.

As a result, the company is following up with a new restructuring, axing part of the remaining staff which survived their last reorganization early last year. We don’t have exact numbers, but it can’t be many. The company had skinnied down to 32 with the last layoffs.

Earlier, Vical dumped a Phase II for its DNA vaccine ASP0113 then noted that their vaccine for herpes simplex virus type 2 had also failed.

As of their last proxy statement filed with the SEC, CEO Vijay Samant claimed a pay package worth slightly more than a million dollars for 2017. That included a $260,000 bonus.

The company can linger for quite some time at this rate. Vical had $50.5 million in reserves at the end of December, after burning through a little more than $12 million. The company closed at $1.01 on Tuesday after declining to penny stock status in January.


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