Struggling GenVec on the auction block as it ponders options

With its stock price in the toilet following a March meltdown triggered by the late-stage failure of its lead therapy, GenVec is bringing in the experts to review its options--including a sale of all or part of the company.

In a release out this morning the Gaithersburg, MD-based GenVec (GNVC) said that Wells Fargo Securities will "conduct a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives aimed at enhancing shareholder value." The review will explore the possible sale of company assets, partnering or other collaboration agreements, or a merger/sale of the developer.

GenVec scrapped its TNFerade program after researchers determined that it wouldn't hit its primary endpoint in a Phase III trial for pancreatic cancer. But the company has other programs in the pipeline. GenVec inked a $213 million pact with Novartis for its preclinical program for hearing loss and balance disorders earlier this year. And GenVec landed a $22 million development deal with Science Applications International last November to develop new HIV and flu vaccines.

GenVec shares were trading at 50 cents this morning, down from the $3 mark just ahead of the Phase III debacle.

- here's the GenVec release