SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR) today announced that dosing has commenced in the Phase 1/2 clinical study evaluating the efficacy and safety of NKTR-214 in the treatment of solid tumors. NKTR-214 is a novel CD122-biased cytokine designed to preferentially activate the beta and gamma sub-units of the IL-2 receptor in order to proliferate tumor-killing T cells within the body (CD8-positive effector T cells and natural killer T cells) without stimulating regulatory T cells (CD4-positive T cells).
"NKTR-214 is a unique immuno-oncology candidate that is specifically designed to activate and multiply the patient's own tumor-killing T cells in order to fight cancer more effectively," said Ivan Gergel, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Nektar. "With NKTR-214 in preclinical models, we observed a preferential increase of CD8-positive effector T cells of more than 400-fold compared to regulatory T cells within the tumor itself. We are excited about the start of the clinical study and the potential of NKTR-214 to provide a positive benefit for patients with cancer."
The Phase 1/2 study of NKTR-214 is designed to evaluate patients with advanced solid tumors, including melanoma, renal cell carcinoma and non-small cell lung cancer. The study is being conducted initially at two primary investigator sites: MD Anderson Cancer Center under Drs. Patrick Hwu and Adi Diab; and Yale Cancer Center, under Drs. Mario Sznol and Michael Hurwitz.
NKTR-214 is designed to be administered similarly to the dosing schedules for approved PD-1 and CTLA-4 agents, and will be evaluated on a once every three week dosing schedule in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial. In preclinical studies, NKTR-214 demonstrated a mean ratio of 450:1 within the tumor micro-environment of CD8-positive effector T-cells, which promote tumor killing, compared with CD4-positive regulatory T cells, which are a type of cell that can suppress tumor killing.2
About the NKTR-214 Phase 1/2 Study
The dose-escalation stage of the Phase 1/2 study is designed to evaluate safety, efficacy, and define the recommended Phase 2 dose of NKTR-214 in approximately 20 patients with solid tumors. In addition to a determination of the recommended Phase 2 dose, the study will assess preliminary anti-tumor activity, including objective response rate (ORR). The immunologic effect of NKTR-214 on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and other immune infiltrating cells in both blood and tumor tissue will also be assessed. Following the dose-escalation stage of the study, dose expansion cohorts are planned to evaluate NKTR-214 in specific tumor types, including melanoma, renal cell carcinoma and non-small cell lung cancer.
For more information on the NKTR-214 Study, please visit the "Clinical Trials" section of www.mdanderson.org using identifier 2015-0573.
At MD Anderson Cancer Center, Patrick Hwu, M.D. serves as Head, Division of Cancer Medicine; Chair, Melanoma Medical Oncology and Chair, Sarcoma Medical Oncology and Adi Diab, M.D. serves as Assistant Professor, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Division of Cancer Medicine. Mario Sznol, M.D., is Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale Cancer Center and also Co-Director of the Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer. Michael Hurwitz, M.D. serves as Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology at Yale Cancer Center.
Nektar Therapeutics has a robust R&D pipeline in pain, oncology, hemophilia and other therapeutic areas. In the area of pain, Nektar has an exclusive worldwide license agreement with AstraZeneca for MOVANTIK™ (naloxegol), the first FDA-approved once-daily oral peripherally-acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist (PAMORA) medication for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC), in adult patients with chronic, non-cancer pain. The product is also approved in the European Union as MOVENTIG® (naloxegol) and is indicated for adult patients with OIC who have had an inadequate response to laxatives. The AstraZeneca agreement also includes NKTR-119, an earlier stage development program that is a co-formulation of MOVANTIK and an opioid. NKTR-181, a wholly-owned mu-opioid analgesic molecule for chronic pain conditions, is in Phase 3 development. In hemophilia, Nektar has a collaboration agreement with Baxalta for ADYNOVATE™ [Antihemophilic Factor (Recombinant)], a longer-acting PEGylated Factor VIII therapeutic approved in the U.S. in patients over 12 with hemophilia A. In anti-infectives, Amikacin Inhale is in Phase 3 studies conducted by Bayer Healthcare as an adjunctive treatment for intubated and mechanically ventilated patients with Gram-negative pneumonia.
Nektar's technology has enabled ten approved products in the U.S. or Europe through partnerships with leading biopharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca's MOVANTIK™, Baxalta's ADYNOVATE™, UCB's Cimzia® for Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis, Roche's PEGASYS® for hepatitis C and Amgen's Neulasta® for neutropenia.
Nektar is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with additional operations in Huntsville, Alabama and Hyderabad, India. Further information about the company and its drug development programs and capabilities may be found online at http://www.nektar.com.
MOVANTIK™ is a trademark and MOVENTIG® is a registered trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.
ADYNOVATE™ is a trademark of Baxalta Inc.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements which can be identified by words such as: "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "expect," "believe," "should," "may," "will" and similar references to future periods. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make regarding the therapeutic potential of NKTR-214 and the potential of our technology and drug candidates in our research and development pipeline. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on our current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of our business, future plans and strategies, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of our control. Our actual results may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others: (i) our statements regarding the therapeutic potential of NKTR-214 are based on preclinical findings and observations, (ii) NKTR-214 is in early-stage clinical development and there are substantial risks that can unexpectedly occur for numerous reasons including negative safety and efficacy findings notwithstanding positive findings in preclinical studies; (iii) our drug candidates and those of our collaboration partners are in various stages of clinical development and the risk of failure is high and can unexpectedly occur at any stage prior to regulatory approval for numerous reasons including negative safety and efficacy findings even after positive findings in previous preclinical and clinical studies; (iv) the timing of the commencement or end of clinical trials and the commercial launch of our drug candidates may be delayed or unsuccessful due to regulatory delays, slower than anticipated patient enrollment, manufacturing challenges, changing standards of care, evolving regulatory requirements, clinical trial design, clinical outcomes, competitive factors, or delay or failure in ultimately obtaining regulatory approval in one or more important markets; (v) scientific discovery of new medical breakthroughs is an inherently uncertain process and the future success of applying our technology platform to potential new drug candidates (such as NKTR-214) is therefore highly uncertain and unpredictable and one or more research and development programs could fail; and (vi) certain other important risks and uncertainties set forth in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 6, 2015. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
Contact: For Investors and Media:
Jennifer Ruddock of Nektar Therapeutics 415-482-5585
Jodi Sievers of Nektar Therapeutics 415-482-5593
1. Boyman, J., et al., Nature Reviews Immunology, 2012, 12, 180-190. 2. Charych, D., et al., Cancer Res. 2013;73(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 482 and Data on file. 3. Hoch U, at al. AACR; Mol Cancer Ther. 2013;12(11 Suppl):Abstract nr B296. 4. Data on file. Nektar Therapeutics.
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