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About Nektar Therapeutics

Nektar Therapeutics has pegged its fortunes to making drugs more effective. The research-based biopharmaceutical firm uses its PEGylation technology (based upon polyethylene glycol) to improve the delivery and efficacy of existing drugs. Nektar's research and development pipeline of new investigational drugs include potential therapies for cancer and autoimmune disease. Its lead candidates are  Movantik for opioid-induced constipation and Onzeald to treat breast cancer. Nektar receives royalties on approved products, including Neulasta, Somavert, and Macugen, as well as its surgical technology. The company's development partners include Roche, AstraZeneca, Amgen, and Pfizer. The company's largest market accounts outside the US. 


In the area of Immuno-oncology (I-O), the company is developing medicines that target biological pathways, which stimulate and sustain the body's immune response in order to fight cancer. Bempegaldesleukin (previously referred to as NKTR-214), its lead I-O candidate, is a biologic with biased signaling that can stimulate proliferation and growth of tumor-killing immune cells in the tumor micro-environment. Another candidate, NKTR-181 (also known as oxycodegol), is a novel mu-opioid analgesic drug candidate. Through its collaboration agreement with Eli Lilly, the company is developing NKTR-358 as an investigational drug designed to correct the underlying immune system imbalance in the body, which occurs in patients with autoimmune disease.

It advanced its technology platform to include new advanced polymer technologies that can be tailored in specific and customized ways to improve the profile of a wide range of molecules, including many classes of drugs targeting numerous disease areas. Polymer conjugation or PEGylation has been a highly effective technology platform for the development of therapeutics with significant commercial success, such as Amgen's Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) and UCB's CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol).

Royalties accounts for about 35% of total revenue, non-cash royalties for more than 30%, product sales more than 15%, and license and collaboration for the remainder revenue. 

Geographic Reach

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Nektar sells its products in the US that account for nearly 20% of total revenue and the rest of the world accounts for the remainder. It has production facilities in the US (Alabama and California) and 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. The company's revenue is derived primarily from customers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. UCB Pharma accounts for nearly 30%, Takeda about 20%, and AstraZeneca more than 15% of the revenue, respectively.

Financial Performance

The revenue performance of the company in the last five years has been fluctuating, peaking at $1.2 billion and hitting the floor at $115 million.

In 2019, revenue fell by 90% to $114.6 million. Product sales, Royalty revenue, and License, collaboration and other revenue all decreased by $0.7 million, $0.8 million, and $1.1 billion, respectively. It was partially offset by a $3 million increase in Non-cash royalty revenue related to sale of future royalties.

The company incurred a net loss of $440.7 million in 2019, after an income of $681.3 million in 2018. The loss was due to higher operating costs and expenses and lower revenues.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year were $96.4 million. Net cash used in operating activities was $328.7 million while investing and financing activities each contributed $206.9 million and $23.4 million, respectively, to company coffers.


The key elements of its business strategy are:

Advance its Proprietary Clinical Pipeline of Drug Candidates that Leverage its Advanced Polymer Conjugate Platform- The objective is to create value by advancing its lead drug candidates through various stages of clinical development. To support this strategy, it has significantly expanded and added expertise to its internal research, preclinical, clinical development and regulatory departments.

Ensure Future Growth of its Proprietary Pipeline through Internal Research Efforts and Advancement of its Preclinical Drug Candidates into Clinical Trials- The strategy is to identify new drug candidates by applying its technology platform to a wide range of molecule classes, including small molecules and proteins, peptides and antibodies, across multiple therapeutic areas. It continues to advance its most promising research drug candidates into preclinical development with the objective of advancing these early-stage research programs to human clinical studies over the next several years.

Selectively Enter into Strategic Collaboration Agreements- The strategy is to selectively access a partner's development, regulatory, or commercial capabilities with the structure of the collaboration depending on factors such as economic risk sharing, the cost and complexity of development, marketing and commercialization needs, therapeutic areas, potential for combination of drug programs, and geographic capabilities.

Transition to a Fully-Integrated Specialty Biotechnology Company with a Commercial Capability in the I-O Therapeutic Area- The company plans to establish a commercial capability in the US and other select major markets to market, sell and distribute these proprietary I-O therapies.

Continue to Build a Leading Intellectual Property Estate in the Field of Polymer Conjugate Chemistry across Therapeutic Modalities- The company has a comprehensive patent strategy with the objective of developing a patent estate covering a wide range of novel inventions, including among others, polymer materials, conjugates, formulations, synthesis, therapeutic areas, methods of treatment and methods of manufacture.

Nektar Therapeutics

455 Mssion Bay Blvd S Ste Ste 100
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: 1 (415) 482-5300

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: NKTR
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
Chairman: Robert B. Chess
SVP and COO: John Nicholson
President, CEO, and Director: Howard W. Robin
Employees (This Location): 280
Employees (All Locations): 723

Major Office Locations

San Francisco, CA

Other Locations

Huntsville, AL