Nabi explores options after NicVAX flunks trial

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals ($NABI) was hit hard earlier this week after the company's smoking cessation vaccine NicVAX flunked a second late-stage trial. Data showed the primary endpoint was not met in the study, and there was no statistical difference between the NicVAX and placebo groups. The results echoed those of an earlier Phase III trial that were reported in July. 

NicVAX was the subject of a $540 million deal with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) in 2009. The pharmaceutical giant pledged $40 million upfront for access to the company's vaccine and follow-ons that could result from its technology. A study of NicVAX in combination with Chantix (varenicline) remains ongoing in the Netherlands, and results are expected in the second half of 2012.

In announcing the disappointing study results, Nabi said it had brought on Piper Jaffray to explore strategic alternatives. "We are clearly disappointed with the results of this second NicVAX Phase III trial but not completely surprised," Nabi President and CEO Raafat Fahim said in a statement. "Our goal is to move expeditiously to maximize the value of the company's assets while continuing our effort to reduce our operating expenses."

- here's the Nabi release