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Nektar/Bristol-Myers’ Combo Trial Positive in Phase I/II


Nektar Therapeutics NKTR along with partner Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY announced positive interim data from dose-escalation part of a phase I/II study, evaluating the safety and efficacy of the combination of its lead candidate, NKTR-214, with Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo (nivolumab). The combination therapy is being evaluated for treatment of patients with melanoma, renal cell carcinoma and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC).

Data from the study was presented at the 2017 annual meeting of Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).

Notably in September last year, Nektar had entered into a clinical collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers for evaluating the Opdivo/NKTR-214 combination therapy across five tumor types (melanoma, kidney, colorectal, bladder and non-small cell lung cancer) and eight potential indications in phase I/II studies. While both companies share cost of the combination studies equally, Nektar retains the global commercial rights to NKTR-214.

Nektar’s shares have significantly outperformed the industry so far this year. The stock has skyrocketed 164.9% while the industry has increased 0.9%.

The PIVOT-02 phase I/II study was conducted on a total of 38 patients across a number of dose cohorts. Data from the trial demonstrated positive response rates across all three tumor types in both PD-L1 positive and PD-L1 negative patients.The company reported no treatment discontinuation due to adverse events.

Importantly, NKTR-214 is a CD122-biased agonist, while Opdivo is a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor. The two different and complementary mechanisms, which comprise the combination regimen, could provide new treatment options for cancer patients.

We remind investors that Nektar is also conducting a phase I/II PROPEL study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of NKTR-214 in combination with Roche's RHHBY Tecentriq (atezolizumab) and Merck's MRK Keytruda (pembrolizumab). The PROPEL study complements Nektar’s ongoing PIVOT trial.

Earlier in May, Nektar had entered into a research collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceuticals to explore the combination of NKTR-214 with five oncology compounds from Takeda’s cancer portfolio.

Zacks Rank

Nektar carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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