Nektar scores $1.5B development deal with AZ

Nektar Therapeutics will pocket $125 million upfront and up to $1.4 billion in milestones in exchange for licensing two of its therapies for pain and opioid-induced constipation.

The pact covers the late-stage constipation drug NKTR-118 alongside the early-stage NKTR-119, which is intended to treat pain without constipation side effects. And San Carlos, CA-based Nektar stands to earn $235 million in regulatory milestones plus up to $375 million for sales milestones for NKTR-118. MarketWatch reports that an SEC filing revealed that Nektar will get up to $75 million in regulatory milestones and $310 million in sales milestones for each of the first two products based on NKTR-119. AstraZeneca will assume responsibility for the continued development of both the NKTR-118 and NKTR-119 programs, including the initiation of late-stage clinical studies for NKTR-118.

"We are excited about this agreement with Nektar, as it provides us the opportunity to apply our deep knowledge and expertise in neuroscience, oncology and gastrointestinal areas of medicine to create real value for patients," said AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan. "This is a good example of using externalisation to enrich the company's late-stage pipeline." Last fall Nektar sold assets from its pulmonary business to Novartis for $115 million so it could concentrate on new drug development.

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