Nektar Therapeutics has pegged its fortunes to making drugs more effective. The clinical-stage drug development firm uses its PEGylation technology, (based upon polyethylene glycol) to improve the delivery and efficacy of existing drugs. Nektar's pipeline includes about 20 drugs focused on anti-infectives and anti-virals, immunology, oncology, and pain treatments. Its lead candidates are NKTR-118 for opioid-induced constipation and NKTR-102 to treat breast cancer. Nektar receives royalties on about a dozen approved products, including Neulasta, Somavert, and Macugen, as well as its surgical and imaging technology. The company's development partners include Roche, AstraZeneca, Amgen, and Pfizer.
Nektar's NKTR-102 candidate is in three separate clinical trials for breast, colorectal, and ovarian cancers. As the drug advances into late-stage clinical trials the company intends to find a collaborative partner to help shepherd it through regulatory filings and commercialization.
Nektar sells its products in the US and Europe with the latter contributing a bit more than half of revenues. It has production facilities in the US (California) and in India.
Sales and Marketing
The company has no sales force of its own but relies on its development partners and other third parties to get its products to market. UCB and Roche together account for more than 50% of Nektar's revenue.
Nektar's revenue increased 14% in 2012 on the strength of higher demand among its partners. US revenue dropped slightly but was offset by an increase in Europe on strong demand. Royalty revenue also decreased as the company sold off its futures payments on Cimzia and Mircera for a lump sum. Net loss increased 28% as the company continues to pour money into R&D and pay for clinical trials but prudent investments kept the company's cash flow in the black.
Collaborations are a key part of Nektar's business strategy and it routinely enters into partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies to help finance the development of new products. The company's development deal with AstraZeneca for NKTR-118 netted it $125 million up-front and gives it the opportunity to earn an additional $1.5 billion in milestone payments. Another collaboration with Bayer Healthcare is working on development and commercialization of an inhaled antibiotic in clinical trials for the treatment of certain pneumonias.
Nektar can also elect to sell its future royalties to raise cash as it did in 2012 when it sold Royalty Pharma future royalty payments on Cimzia and Mircera, from UCB and Roche, respectively, for about $124 million.
In 2012 the company moved to reduce costs by closing its Alabama research location and consolidating US R&D at its California headquarters.
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