Telik never recovered from hiding the premature deaths of ovarian cancer patients treated with its experimental drug Telcyta. Following the serious ethical lapse in 2007, Telik became a biotech pariah, ignored by scientists and investors. Telik's top executives, the husband-and-wife team Michael Wick and Gail Brown, spent the next seven years cashing paychecks paid for by long-gone shareholders.
With the money finally gone, Telik is also disappearing. On Monday, the company announced a reverse merger with privately held Mabvax Therapeutics. When the deal closes, MabVax stockholders will own 85% of the combined companies, which will also be run by MabVax management and retain the MabVax name. Telik shareholders will own 15% and Wick keeps a seat on the board.
MabVax is developing cancer vaccines, with two products targeting sarcoma and ovarian cancer enrolling patients in proof-of-concept phase II studies.