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12:00 AM
 | 
Sep 28, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Nektar's Next Step

Nektar Therapeutics had expected to become profitable in mid-2007 based on royalties from Exubera inhaled insulin. Instead, partner Pfizer Inc. terminated the diabetes drug from its portfolio that October because it failed to gain acceptance from patients and physicians.

But even before Exubera imploded, Nektar had begun to change its focus from the formulation deals that had been its bread and butter, to developing its own products(see BioCentury, Feb. 6, 2006). Last week, the company announced progress along that path in the form of a deal with AstraZeneca plc for its lead program.

AstraZeneca will pay $125 million up front for worldwide rights to NKTR-118, a pegylated form of the opioid antagonist naloxol that is in Phase II trials treat opioid-induced constipation (OIC). The pharma also gets rights to NKTR-119, a preclinical program combining NKTR-118 with an opioid to treat pain without causing constipation.

Nektar is eligible for up to $610 million in milestones for NKTR-118 and $385 million in milestones on each of the first two compounds...

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