Nektar Therapeutics NKTR has announced initiation of dosing in a phase I/II study, evaluating the combination of its two novel immuno-oncology agents, NKTR-262 and NKTR-214, on patients with advanced solid tumors.

While NKTR-262 is a toll-like receptor agonist designed to invite an innate immune response to fight the cancer, NKTR-214 is an immuno-stimulatory CD122-biased agonist.

Shares of Nektar have soared 72.1% so far this year, substantially outperforming the industry’s decrease of 2.2%.

 

The phase I/II REVEAL study is an open-label, multicenter dose escalation program, designed to evaluate the NKTR-262/NKTR-214 combination regimen, administered as an initial intratumoral (directly into the tumor) injection of NKTR-262 followed by an intravenous (IV) infusion of NKTR-214. The company believes that this combination therapy will enable it to provide an alternative treatment option to its patients.

Moreover, the company also plans to assess this NKTR-262/NKTR-214 combination with Bristol-Myers’ BMY Opdivo (nivolumab) in the given patient population.

We remind investors that in September 2016, Nektar entered into a clinical collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers under which, Nektar’s NKTR-214 will be examined in combination with the latter’s Opdivo across nine tumor types including melanoma, kidney, colorectal, bladder and non-small cell lung cancer plus 20 potential indications in phase I/II trials.

Meanwhile, in September 2017, the company announced initiation of phase I/II PROPEL study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of NKTR-214 in combination with Roche’s RHHBY Tecentriq (atezolizumab) and Merck’s MRK Keytruda (pembrolizumab).

It is also important to note that Nektar is developing several other candidates across important therapeutic areas including oncology, pain, anti-infectives and immunology aong others. The company has made a significant progress with its lead candidate Onzeald (formerly known as NKTR-102), currently under accelerated assessment in the EU for treating adults with advanced breast cancer as well as brain metastases. A response is anticipated within the first half of 2018.

A couple of other interesting candidates is NKTR-181 and NKTR-358. While NKTR-181 is being analyzed in a phase III program for treatment of chronic pain, the company initiated a phase I clinical study on NKTR-358 to treat a wide range of auto-immune diseases and inflammatory disorders.

 

Zacks Rank

Nektar carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Today’s Stocks from Zacks’ Hottest Strategies

It’s hard to believe, even for us at Zacks. But while the market gained +21.9% in 2017, our top stock-picking screens have returned +115.0%, +109.3%, +104.9%, +98.6%, and +67.1%.

And this outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. Over the years it has been remarkably consistent. From 2000 – 2017, the composite yearly average gain for these strategies has beaten the market more than 19X over. Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that we’re willing to share their latest stocks with you without cost or obligation.

See Them Free>>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Roche Holding AG (RHHBY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research