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Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR - Analyst Report) recently presented positive data from a preclinical study on NKTR-214. NKTR-214 targets the interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor complex and is being developed or the treatment of multiple cancers.

Results from the preclinical study revealed that NKTR-214 improved pharmacokinetics and also enhanced tumor penetration that permits a ten-fold reduction in overall dosing.

We note that this is not the only oncology candidate at Nektar. The company’s lead oncology candidate is NKTR-102 (etirinotecan pegol), being developed for the treatment of patients suffering from metastatic breast cancer. Nektar is currently evaluating the candidate in the phase III BEACON study (BrEAst Cancer Outcomes with NKTR-102).

Nektar is expected to enrol around 840 women with metastatic breast cancer by the end of this year. Data is expected by the end of 2014. In Nov 2012, NKTR-102 was designated as a Fast Track development program by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

NKTR-102 is also being developed for the treatment of ovarian cancer. During the fourth quarter of 2012 the company completed a phase II study on the candidate. Results from the study showed that NKTR-102 has significant activity in platinum-resistant and refractory ovarian cancer.

Moreover, in Aug 2012, Nektar commenced a phase II investigator-initiated clinical trial on NKTR-102 in patients with Roche Holding’s (RHHBY - Analyst Report) Avastin (bevacizumab)-resistant high-grade glioma (a type of tumor). The study is being conducted at the Stanford Cancer Institute.

In Feb 2013, the company initiated another phase II investigator-initiated study on the candidate in patients suffering from metastatic and recurrent non-small cell lung cancer. The study is being conducted at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

We note that the oncology market is extremely competitive with the presence of companies like Roche and Sanofi (SNY - Analyst Report).

Nektar, a biopharma company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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