Intercell shares nosedive as investigators slam brakes on patient recruitment

Austria's Intercell ($ICLL) saw its stock take another nasty dive after a safety panel warned investigators against recruiting more patients for a Phase II/III clinical trial of an experimental vaccine. V710--which is partnered with Merck--is designed to guard against the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which can trigger a lethal infection.

Intercell's CEO isn't saying exactly what the issue is. What he does say is that the sudden halt in recruiting "doesn't mean this vaccine has failed and doesn't mean that this program will be stopped." Analysts, though, are taking a different approach. Peter Welford, an analyst at Jefferies International, called it a "significant disappointment." And with the red flag appearing shortly after Intercell's failure on a key vaccine for traveler's diarrhea, investors hit the exits, driving its share price down 27 percent.

"The recommendation to stop to make further analysis of the benefit-risk can mean a broad spectrum of things," Zettlmeissl told Reuters. "It can be very positive in a sense that we have a result that the vaccine is very beneficial and this needs to be analyzed. It can also mean there is something in the study which needs reflection and maybe change in the way forward."

- check out the Intercell release
- read the story from Bloomberg
- here's the Reuters report