Howard Robin, CEO of Nektar, says his top team has discovered why the response rates for the closely watched drug NKTR-214 (bempegaldesleukin) have "declined" over time – with catastrophic consequences. However, the explanation satisfied no one.
In fact, their stock fell nearly 30%, resulting in a market capitalization of $ 1.5 billion. And that was exactly what Robin was not looking for.
After a brief review of pipeline updates, the CEO managed to solve the puzzle. Examining the different patient cohorts, the team found that patients treated with the drugs produced in lots 1 and 3 showed a significant improvement over patients who had started in lots 2 and 5.
None of the bad drugs are used in ongoing clinical trials – suggesting that the plasticizing problem is not repeated. And Nektar shook the production team with its embarrassing setback.
The reaction was not dampened.
Oh my god, $ NKTR believes that some patients have received studies (from two batches) of suboptimal product and this has led to a weakening of responses. That's crazy.
– Brad Loncar (@bradloncar) August 8, 2019
Nectar managers have a bad habit of talking themselves into holes. Thursday evening they cemented this representative.
None of this is likely to work well with its partners in Bristol-Myers Squibb, which paid $ 1.85 billion in advance in cash and in stock to partner with Nektar for this drug.
This latest development comes just after the FDA's decision to halt applications for opioids, at least for now. And that left their pain program for NKTR-181 in abeyance, as biotechnology – after an expected approval – founded a subsidiary to handle the marketing campaign.