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Nektar, ImaginAb Enter Into Immuno-Oncology Collaboration

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Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR - Free Report) has entered into a non-exclusive license and clinical trial collaboration with privately-held ImaginAb Inc. to support its immuno-oncology pipeline. The deal will allow Nektar to use ImaginAb’s CD8 ImmunoPET technology, which measures the density and distribution of tumor CD8+ T cells in cancer patients.

ImaginAb’s technology will allow Nektar to get a whole-body view of immune system activity without using any invasive procedures on patients. This, in turn, will improve the company’s understanding and help it rationally develop new immunotherapies.

The CD8 ImmunoPET technology can measure CD8+ T cells in multiple tissues, including all target and non-target tumor lesions, simultaneously. Notably, Nektar’s immuno-oncology pipeline consists of candidates that work by targeting CD8+ T cells. For the immuno-oncology therapies, this biomarker will potentially help expedite the development process.

However, Nektara and ImaginAb did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement.

In the past six months, shares of Nektar have lost 45.8% compared with the industry’s 20.6% decline.

Nektar is also developing several immuno-oncology candidates, with NKTR-214 being a primary candidate among them.

Earlier, the company had entered into collaborations to develop NKTR-214 in combination with other therapies.

In November 2018, the company entered into clinical collaboration with Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) to develop doublet or triplet combination therapies of NKTR-214 in several cancer indications, including metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Additionally, it has a collaboration with Bristol-Myers (BMY - Free Report) to evaluate NKTR-214 in combination with Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo alone or with Yervoy in more than 20 indications. In September 2018, Nektar and partner, Bristol-Myers, initiated a phase III study to evaluate NKTR-214 plus Opdivo for treating previously untreated unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

Nektar’s co-development collaboration with Eli Lilly (LLY - Free Report) to develop another immuno-oncology candidate, NKTR-358, is also noteworthy.

Zacks Rank

Nektar currently 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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