Pegging The Value Of NKTR-214 At Zero

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About: Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR)
by: Plainview
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Plainview
Biotech
Summary

Nektar’s principal asset NKTR-214, a pegylated version of IL-2, previously failed in a monotherapy trial (0% ORR), and we believe it will fail in combination with nivolumab as well.

Past studies show that with IL-2 therapy, a 200-300% increase in lymphocytes is required to achieve a clinical response. NKTR-214 induced a 33-50% lymphocyte increase in Nektar’s PIVOT trial.

NKTR-214 is too weak to work: total active drug exposure (AUC) is 7-20% of IL-2 with Nektar's most recent data pointing to the bottom end of the range (7-11%).

NKTR-214 is even weaker than the AUC implies because it's driven by duration rather than potency: NKTR-214 does very little for a very long time. The peak concentration is only 2% vs. IL-2.

Nektar withheld ORR data for an unprecedented 69% (186/283) of dosed patients at ASCO 2018. First rule of biotechnology investing: if a company withholds data, that data is always bad.

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