Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to invest in a particular company. These updates provide information on experimental drugs and at times provide an insight into the commercial potential of the candidate once it is successfully developed and commercialized.
Earlier this week, Nektar Therapeutics (NASD:NKTR) received encouraging news regarding the development of its lead pipeline candidate etirinotecan pegol (NKTR-102) for the treatment of locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer when the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (:DMC) recommended the continuation of its phase III study (BEACON: n=852) on the candidate. The decision came on the back of the completion of a planned interim analysis as mandated by the DMC charter.
The randomized, open-label, international study is evaluating etirinotecan pegol in breast cancer patients who have received an anthracycline, a taxane and capecitabine (ATCV) in comparison to a comparator arm comprising an active single agent treatment of the physician's choice.
The study is primarily evaluating the overall survival of these patients. The study is also evaluating progression-free survival and objective tumor response rates of etirinotecan pegol. Nektar is expecting final results from the study by the end of 2014 or early 2015. The company also plans to file regulatory submissions both in the U.S. and the EU depending on the positive results from this late-stage study. We note that the breast cancer market currently has players like Roche (OTC:RHHBY).
In a separate announcement Nektar stated that it has initiated a phase I study on NKTR-171 for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The study will be evaluating the pharmacokinetics, tolerability and safety of the candidate. We note that the pain market currently has players such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).
Nektar has progressed well with its pipeline. The company also has NKTR-181 (chronic pain), Baxter 855 (Hemophilia A) and NKTR-192 (acute pain) in its pipeline among others. We expect investor focus to remain on the company’s pipeline going forward.
Nektar, a biopharmaceutical company, presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the biopharmaceutical sector include Actelion Ltd. (OTC:ALIOF) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).