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.
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.
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.