What: Shares of Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTC:NWBO), a small-cap clinical biotech company with a focus on immuno-oncology, are down more than 16% today on news of a phase 3 clinical trial halt for the company's lead compound.

So what: According to the EU clinical trial register, the company's current phase 3 clinical trial that is evaluating DCVas-L as a treatment for Glioblastoma multiform, a lethal brain cancer, is currently listed as "temporarily halted". 

As of 1:30 today, the company has yet to comment on the trial's status with a press release, and investors are selling the stock hard as a result of the news

Now what: As DCVax-L is the company's compound that is furthest along in development, the news of the trial being halted is a worrisome sign for investors. Although the company boasts a few other trials currently under way, it will still be years before any of them could possibly find there way to market.

Source: Northwest Biotherapeutics

In addition the company's cash position is really starting to get tight as it reported only slightly more than $19 million in cash on its balance sheet as of June 30th, and yet the company lost more than $38 million last quarter from operations alone. Total net loss for the quarter actually landed at more than $66 million when you include the change in fair value of its derivative liability position.

This once high flying company has been an awfully tough stock to hold for a long time, as shares are now down more than 99% since hitting the public markets more than a decade ago.

NWBO Chart

Given the long-term underperformance of this stock and the company's current precarious cash position, I'm more than content to keep my investment dollar far aware from this stock.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.