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Nektar Therapeutics’ Share Price Fell 41.8% on June 4

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Share price fell

On June 4, Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) closed at $52.6—almost 41.8% lower than its previous close of $90.35. The company’s market capitalization fell by ~$6.0 billion to ~$9.0 billion.

Investors reacted to preliminary data from the ongoing Phase 1/2 study, PIVOT, released by Nektar Therapeutics at the ASCO’s (American Society of Clinical Oncology) annual meeting on June 2. The study is evaluating the potential of a combination regimen of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Opdivo with Nektar’s investigational therapy, NKTR-214, in multiple tumor types.

In 2018, Merck (MRK) and Roche Holdings (RHHBY) are also studying combination regimens of Keytruda and Tecentriq, respectively, in multiple oncology indications.

The above diagram shows the design of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the PIVOT study. Currently, Nektar Therapeutics and Bristol-Myers Squibb are enrolling almost 400 patients in Phase 2 of the PIVOT study.

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Results in melanoma indication

The NKTR-214 and Opdivo combination regimen met the prespecified efficacy criteria in the Phase 1 dose escalation and Phase 2 dose expansion stages of the PIVOT study in Stage IV metastatic first line melanoma indication. While the objective response rate in Stage 1 of the study, comprised of 13 patients, was almost 85%, it dropped to 50% in Stage 2 of the study. There were 28 patients, including the 13 patients from Stage 1, enrolled in Stage 2 of the PIVOT study. Investors think that Nektar Therapeutics and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s plan to initiate a Phase 3 trial for studying the NKTR-214 and Opdivo combination in first-line advanced melanoma indication in the third quarter is too risky. The results from the PIVOT study released in 2017 were considered to be a major growth driver for Nektar Therapeutics. The mixed news from the ASCO meeting had a negative impact on Nektar Therapeutics’ share price.

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