Pivotal failure triggers job cuts at San Diego-based Tocagen

Tocagen is circling the drain, following the crushing late-stage failure of its experimental brain cancer therapy last month. On Thursday, the San Diego-based company slashed its workforce by 65%.

Its two-part therapy was being tested in patients with recurrent high-grade glioma undergoing resection in the Toca 5 study. On average, patients on the Tocagen regimen actually did not live as long as those given standard treatment (11.1 months median compared to 12.2 months). In addition, the company?s therapy hit a hazard ratio of 1.06, reflecting an increased risk to patients, along with an unsavory p-value of 0.6154.

Tocagen?s technology employs retroviral replicating vectors, or RRVs, which are engineered to selectively deliver therapeutic genes into cancer cells. The experimental brain cancer therapy in question combines an RRV, called Toca 511, with