Struggling GlobeImmune brings in financial advisers as options dwindle

Not long after a mid-stage trial failure blasted its stock value and forced the company to lay off most of its staff, a troubled GlobeImmune ($GBIM) has brought in Cantor Fitzgerald to advise the biotech on its "strategic options"--which may signal that a fire sale is in the offing.

GlobeImmune CEO Timothy Rodell

GlobeImmune CEO Timothy Rodell had tried to make the best of things when he fingered signs of biologic activity among a handful of patients given the hep B vaccine GS-4774 in a Phase II trial. But the big takeaway was that the Louisville, CO-based company's lead program had flunked out when given a chance to establish proof-of-concept data among the 178 patients in the study.

As a result of that failure, GlobeImmune's shares were shattered and the company's market cap sits at a tiny $15 million--a bite-sized target for anyone interested in the company.

Gilead in-licensed the hep B program back in 2011 and the biotech has a second Phase II trial underway as well. Celgene ($CELG), meanwhile, stepped in early a few days ago to pick up its option on GI-6207, which targets cancer cells that express a carcinoembryonic antigen.

Celgene paid only $1.9 million for the accelerated option, with potential royalties attached, gaining a therapy that's now in a 34-patient Phase II study at the NCI, where investigators are studying its impact on calcitonin levels--a biomarker for recurrent medullary thyroid cancer.

The biotech industry has enjoyed a three-year romp on Wall Street, but weak companies with small pipelines are at risk of a savage beating at the hands of investors when things go sour. GlobeImmune only raised about $15 million when it sold a batch of IPO shares at $10 each--well under its range--last summer. The stock was trading at $2.60 this morning.

- here's the release