Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) announced a clinical collaboration agreement with Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR - Free Report) under which Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo will be evaluated in combination with Nektar’s NKTR-214 across five tumor types and seven potential indications.
The collaboration will include phase I/II studies to assess the Opdivo/NKTR-214 combination to demonstrate improved and sustained efficacy and tolerability above the current standard of care in melanoma, kidney, colorectal, bladder and non-small cell lung cancer patients. Initial dose-escalation study on the combination is in progress.
Both companies will share costs of the combination studies equally, while Nektar will retain global commercial rights to NKTR-214.
Opdivo is a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor while NKTR-214 is a CD122-biased agonist. The two different and complementary mechanisms, which comprise the combination regimen, could provide new treatment options for cancer patients.
We are positive on this deal. Bristol-Myers is collaborating with several other companies for the evaluation of Opdivo in combination with their cancer treatments. This July, Bristol-Myers signed up with AbbVie Inc. (ABBV - Free Report) to study Opdivo in combination with AbbVie's Rova-T, for the treatment of relapsed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer.
We note that Opdivo generated worldwide revenues of $1.5 billion in the first half of 2016. Label expansion into additional indications would increase the commercial potential of the drug significantly.
With this deal, Nektar is also gaining a strong partner in the form of Bristol-Myers, a company with expertise in the field of immuno-oncology. Further, Nektar could expedite the development of NKTR-214, which is currently in a phase I/II study, in patients with solid tumors.
While Bristol-Myers is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, Nektar carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
A Stock to Consider
A better-ranked stock in the health care sector is Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
For 2016, Anika witnessed a 12.6% increase in its earnings estimates over the past 60 days. It has recorded an average positive earnings surprise of 42.19% over the last four trailing quarters. The company’s shares have jumped 22.1% year to date.
Confidential from Zacks
Beyond this Analyst Blog, would you like to see Zacks' best recommendations that are not available to the public? Our Executive VP, Steve Reitmeister, knows when key trades are about to be triggered and which of our experts has the hottest hand. Click to see them now>>