Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘Nektar Therapeutics’

In honour of Armistice / Veteran’s Day 11/11

National Harbor – We’re continuing our SITC 2019 coverage with a look at some intriguing and likely controversial data.

The Best Clinical Data at SITC wasn’t NextCure’s NC318 Siglec–15 (more on that tomorrrow)

But…

Nektar’s pegylated IL–2, bempeg, in combination with nivolumab in frontline metastatic melanoma.

The controversy will no doubt continue to rage with fervent fans and equally intense deniers, but what can we learn from the latest data that was presented by Dr Adi Diab and where are things likely headed?

Included in this latest update are an in-depth thought provoking expert interview with Nektar’s Dr Jonathan ‘JZ’ Zalevsky, plus commentary and analysis on what this all means when we look at the bigger strategic picture.

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The latest company immunotherapy announcement is from Lilly and Nektar Therapeutics, for a strategic collaboration to co-develop NKTR–358, which targets the IL–2 receptor complex, thereby impacting regulatory T cells (Tregs). It is thought that this target may have particular relevance to autoimmune disorders and other chronic inflammatory conditions. This agreement involves an initial payment of $150 million, with the potential for up to $250 million in additional development and regulatory milestones.

Source: Nektar Therapeutics

Preclinical data on this novel compound was recently presented on July 10th at the World Congress of Inflammation.

We first spoke to Nektar at SITC in November, including an interview with one of their leading scientists (Dr Jonathan Zalevsky) together with the academic PI (Dr Adi Diab), and I’m delighted to say that the dynamic duo graciously agreed to a follow-up discussion at ASCO last month on the emerging IO pipeline.

In our current analysis and commentary on the IO pipeline, we also look briefly at the Lilly deal with NKTR–358 in autoimmune disease.

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National Harbor Maryland

National Harbor, MD

The range of different types of cancer immunotherapies in the clinic now is fairly broad, with many promising approaches being evaluated.

Cytokines, despite their initial challenges with toxicities, are an essential pillar of this approach, along with checkpoint inhibitors and agonists, adoptive T cell therapy, and now even neoantigen approaches and cancer vaccines.

Nektar Therapeutics ($NKTR) are developing two intriguing immuno-oncology compounds based on cytokines, which are in early development called NKTR–214 and NKTR-255.

The idea behind this approach is that they are immuno-stimulatory therapies designed to expand T cells and Natural Killer (NK) cells directly in the tumour microenvironment, thereby increasing expression of PD-1 on these immune cells.  Subsequent checkpoint therapy could potentially be made more effective. We already know that those patients with few or no T cells are less likely to respond (cold or non-inflamed tumours) so the hunt is on finding ways to address this particular challenge.  Can it be done therapeutically?

Data was presented this past weekend at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).

Was the data encouraging enough to justify further clinical development or is this a compound headed to dog drug heaven?

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