SAN FRANCISCO, May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR) announced today that Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502) and Nektar have entered into a research collaboration to explore the combination of Nektar's lead immuno-oncology candidate, the CD122-biased agonist NKTR-214, with five oncology compounds from Takeda's cancer portfolio. The two companies will explore the anti-cancer activity of NKTR-214 with five different targeted mechanisms in preclinical tumor models of lymphoma, melanoma and colorectal cancer.
"We look forward to collaborating with Takeda to explore a range of combination therapy approaches in models of both liquid and solid tumors," said Jonathan Zalevsky, PhD, Senior Vice President of Biology and Preclinical Development. "Importantly, this research collaboration will allow us to understand the potential of NKTR-214 with key compounds in the Takeda oncology portfolio, including a SYK-inhibitor and a proteasome inhibitor, and identify which combination treatment regimens show the most promise for possible advancement into the clinic."
"We see significant potential in Nektar's unique CD122-biased agonist in particular the ability to stimulate tumor-killing T-cells in the tumor micro-environment itself," said Phil Rowlands, PhD, Head, Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit, Takeda. "Research partnerships are an important part of helping us advance our aspiration of curing cancer. Working together with Nektar will enable us to identify combinations with exciting preclinical activity and help us achieve Takeda's goal of developing innovative, targeted therapies to treat people with cancer."
Under the terms of the collaboration, the companies will share costs related to the preclinical studies and each will contribute their respective compounds to the research collaboration. Nektar and Takeda will each maintain global commercial rights to their respective drugs and/or drug candidates.
NKTR-214 is an investigational immuno-stimulatory therapy designed to expand specific cancer-fighting CD8+ effector T cells and natural killer (NK) cells directly in the tumor micro-environment and increase expression of PD-1 on these immune cells. NKTR-214 targets CD122 specific receptors found on the surface of these cancer-fighting immune cells in order to stimulate their proliferation. In clinical and preclinical studies, treatment with NKTR-214 resulted in expansion of these cells and mobilization into the tumor micro-environment.1,2,3 NKTR-214 has an antibody-like dosing regimen similar to the existing checkpoint inhibitor class of approved medicines.
Takeda signed the research collaboration agreement with Nektar Therapeutics through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
About Nektar Therapeutics
Nektar Therapeutics is a research-based development stage biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover and develop innovative medicines to address the unmet medical needs of patients. Our R&D pipeline of new investigational medicines includes treatments for cancer, auto-immune disease and chronic pain. We leverage Nektar's proprietary and proven chemistry platform in the discovery and design of our new therapeutic candidates. 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.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains uncertain or 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 potential therapeutic potential of NKTR-214, the therapeutic potential of NKTR-214 in combination with other drug compounds, the timing and likelihood of advancement into the clinic for NKTR-214 in combination with other compounds, future clinical development plans for NKTR-214, and the potential of 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 and 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 and you should not rely on such statements. Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include: (i) pre-clinical and clinical study outcomes remain very unpredictable and it is possible that a study could fail; (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; (iii) scientific discovery of new medical breakthroughs is an inherently uncertain process and the future success of applying NKTR-214 with new drug compounds is uncertain and unpredictable and one or more development programs may fail; (iv) 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; (v) the commencement or end of studies and the availability of study data may be delayed or unsuccessful; (vi) patents may not issue from our patent applications for our drug candidates, patents that have issued may not be enforceable, or additional intellectual property licenses from third parties may be required; and (vii) certain other important risks and uncertainties set forth in our Annual Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 9, 2017. 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.
Jennifer Ruddock of Nektar Therapeutics
1. Charych, D., et al., Cancer Res. 2013;73(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 482 and Data on file.
2. Hoch U, at al. AACR; Mol Cancer Ther. 2013;12(11 Suppl):Abstract nr B296.
3. Diab et. al., SITC 2016.
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