Nektar on a roll as ovarian cancer drug shows promise

Yesterday shares of Nektar Therapeutics jumped 13 percent on the news that the developer had struck a $1.5 billion licensing deal for two of its development programs with AstraZeneca. This morning its shares rose 11 percent after investigators said a small, early-stage trial of a new ovarian cancer drug produced promising results.

Two of the five patients in the trial of NKTR-102 were evaluable for efficacy. Both demonstrated promising anti-tumor activity, with up to a 37 percent decrease in tumor size. NKTR-102 is described as a novel prodrug of irinotecan that was designed using Nektar's proprietary small molecule advanced polymer conjugate technology platform.

"As highlighted in our data presented today at ECCO/ESMO, we continue to see encouraging signs suggesting that NKTR-102's improved pharmacokinetics could result in an enhanced therapeutic profile," said Lorianne Masuoka, M.D., Nektar's chief medical officer. "We are also pleased with the rapid enrollment of the first stage of our Phase 2 clinical study in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Although many patients are not yet evaluable for response, we have already achieved a sufficient number of confirmed responses to open the second stage for both regimens in the study earlier than anticipated. This important new compound may offer a valuable new treatment option to overcome chemo-resistance in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer."

- take a look at Nektar's release
- here's the Reuter's story