Nektar Tanks on Pfizer's Exubera Decision

Includes: NKTR, WST
by: Steven Towns

Pfizer's announcement Thursday (accompanying its Q3 earnings release) that it is discontinuing sales of inhaled insulin drug Exubera came as news to partner Nektar Therapeutics, as the latter's shares plunged 17.5% to $6.67, hitting a multi-year low. Nektar says it was not given prior notice of Pfizer's decision and has been "very disappointed in Pfizer's performance in marketing Exubera." Nektar learned of the decision from Pfizer's Q3 earnings press release. Pfizer cited SEC rules forcing it to withhold the news from Nektar due to its classification as "material information" related to quarterly earnings. Pfizer said it will return Exubera marketing rights to Nektar. West Pharmaceutical Services, one of two producers of Exubera for Nektar, said Pfizer's decision will not affect its Q3 or full-year non-GAAP earnings, but the company is said to be evaluating the potential for an asset impairment. In a statement, Nektar said it "continues to believe Exubera is an important advancement for diabetic patients." However, year-to-date Exubera sales totaled only $12M, as patients have opted for traditional treatments and consider Exubera inconvenient. Shares of West Pharma lost 0.7% to $41.64 and Pfizer was down slightly to $24.54.

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