Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) and Nektar Therapeutics(Nasdaq:NKTR) announced today the companies have executed a global strategic development and commercialization collaboration for Nektar’s lead immuno-oncology program, NKTR-214. Under the collaboration, the companies will jointly develop and commercialize NKTR-214 in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) and Opdivo plus Yervoy (ipilimumab) in more than 20 indications across 9 tumor types, as well as potential combinations with other anti-cancer agents from either of the respective companies and/or third parties.
NKTR-214, a CD122-biased agonist, is an investigational immuno-stimulatory therapy designed to selectively expand cancer-fighting T cells and natural killer (NK) cells directly in the tumor micro-environment and increase PD-1 expression on those immune cells.
“We are excited to bring our leading capabilities and expertise in developing cancer therapies together with Nektar’s innovative science to jointly develop and commercialize NKTR-214 in combination with Opdivo and Opdivo plus Yervoy,” said Giovanni Caforio, M.D., Chairman and CEO, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Bristol-Myers Squibb has established Opdivo plus Yervoy as the only approved immunotherapy combination for cancer patients and built a robust oncology pipeline. With this commitment to the development of NKTR-214, an investigational therapy designed with a unique approach to harnessing the full potential of the interleukin-2 pathway, we now have a third validated I-O mechanism that has demonstrated a clinical benefit in patients, and holds significant potential to expand the benefits that these immuno-oncology agents can bring to patients with cancer.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Nektar have agreed to a joint clinical development plan to evaluate NKTR-214 with Opdivo and Opdivo plus Yervoy in registration-enabling clinical trials in more than 20 indications in 9 tumor types including melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, bladder and triple negative breast cancer. Pivotal studies in renal cell carcinoma and melanoma are expected to be initiated in mid-2018.
“Bristol-Myers Squibb, the global leader in immuno-oncology, is the ideal collaborator to enable us to establish NKTR-214 as a backbone immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer,” said Howard Robin, President & CEO of Nektar. “NKTR-214’s ability to grow tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in vivo and replenish the immune system is critically important as many patients battling cancer lack sufficient TIL populations to benefit from approved checkpoint inhibitor therapies. This strategic collaboration allows us to very quickly develop NKTR-214 with the leading approved PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor in numerous registrational trials. We look forward to our continued relationship with Bristol-Myers Squibb as we work together to advance cancer treatment for patients around the world.”
Filed Under: Drug Discovery