In a $1.85 billion deal, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Nektar Therapeutics have entered into a development and commercialization agreement for Nektar’s immuno-oncology drug, NKTR-214. The deal will be broken up into an up-front payment of $1 billion in cash along with $8.28 million in Nektar stock.
The collaboration will allow Bristol-Myers Squibb to test combination therapies including NKTR-214 and the company’s own immunotherapeutic agents, Opdivo and Yervoy. The clinical program will include trials in over 20 indications involving nine different tumor types.
If NKTR-214 is eventually approved by regulators, Nektar will retain 65 percent of global profits while Bristol-Myers Squibb will get the remaining 35 percent.
“We are excited to bring our leading capabilities and expertise in developing cancer therapies together with Nektar’s innovative science to jointly develop and commercialize NKTR-214 in combination with Opdivo and Opdivo plus Yervoy,” said Dr. Giovanni Caforio, Chairman and CEO, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Bristol-Myers Squibb has established Opdivo plus Yervoy as the only approved immunotherapy combination for cancer patients and built a robust oncology pipeline.”
NKTR-214 is an investigational immuno-oncology drug designed to increase PD-1 expression on immune cells and promote the immune response in fighting cancer. Bristol-Myers Squibb made the deal after Nektar released early positive data from their Phase I/II clinical program for NKTR-214, which is currently ongoing.
“With this commitment to the development of NKTR-214, an investigational therapy designed with a unique approach to harnessing the full potential of the interleukin-2 pathway, we now have a third validated I-O mechanism that has demonstrated a clinical benefit in patients, and holds significant potential to expand the benefits that these immuno-oncology agents can bring to patients with cancer,” said Caforio.
“Bristol-Myers Squibb, the global leader in immuno-oncology, is the ideal collaborator to enable us to establish NKTR-214 as a backbone immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer,” said Howard Robin, President & CEO of Nektar. “NKTR-214’s ability to grow tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in vivo and replenish the immune system is critically important as many patients battling cancer lack sufficient TIL populations to benefit from approved checkpoint inhibitor therapies.
Melanoma, triple negative breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma are among the tumor types to be treated with a combination of NKTR-214, Opdivo and/or Yervoy in clinical trials. According to Bristol-Myers Squibb, the first trials are expected to commence in mid-2018.
“This strategic collaboration allows us to very quickly develop NKTR-214 with the leading approved PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor in numerous registrational trials,” said Robin. “We look forward to our continued relationship with Bristol-Myers Squibb as we work together to advance cancer treatment for patients around the world.”