Nektar Therapeutics Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Nektar Therapeutics Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript
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Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR)

Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

May 5, 2010 5:00 pm ET


Jennifer Ruddock – VP, IR

Howard Robin – President & CEO

John Nicholson – SVP & CFO


Cory Kasimov – JPMorgan

Bert Hazlett – BMO Capital Markets

Shiv Kapoor – Morgan Joseph



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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the first quarter 2010 Nektar Therapeutics financial results conference call. My name is Dianna and I will be your operator for today. At this time all participants are in a listen only mode but later we will conduct a question and answer session. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Ms. Jennifer Ruddock, Vice-president, Investor Relations. Please proceed.

Jennifer Ruddock

Thank you, Dianna. Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us for Nektar Therapeutics' first quarter 2010 financial results conference call. With us today are Howard Robin, our President and CEO; John Nicholson, our Chief Financial Officer; Bharatt Chowrira, our Chief Operating Officer; Dr. Lorianne Masuoka our Chief Medical Officer and Stephen Doberstein, our Chief Scientific Officer.

Before we get started, please note that the following presentation contains forward looking statements that reflect our current views as to the Company's business strategies, the value and potential of our technology platform, the progress and potential for our proprietary drug candidates, the future economic potential under certain of our partnership agreements, the potential market size for certain of our drug candidates and those of our partners, our financial guidance for 2010 and other future events and opportunities related to the Company.

These forward looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that are detailed in Nektar's reports and other filings with the SEC, including our Form 10-K annual report filed with the SEC on March 3rd, 2010, our report on Form 8-K filed today and our Form 10-Q quarterly report to be filed following this call.

Actual events could differ materially from these forward looking statements. We assume no obligation to update any forward looking statements as a result of new information, future events or developments. A webcast of this call will be available for replay on the Investor Relations page at Nektar's website at

With that, I would now like to hand the call over to Howard Robin, our President and CEO. Howard?

Howard Robin

Thank you, Jennifer and thanks to everyone for joining us. Nektar continues to make great progress advancing our clinical pipelines of drug candidates that we created using validated polymer conjugate technology platform. Today I'm going to update your on our achievements in the first quarter of 2010 and also highlight a number of milestones and objectives for our R&D programs.

I'd like to start first with a focus on our two clinical stage oncology candidates, NKTR-102 and NKTR-105. Both investigational compounds utilize our advanced polymer conjugate technology to potentially greatly enhance widely used chemotherapies. Irinotecan [ph] in the case of NKTR-102 and built a tax hole for NKTR-105.

Most drugs that are used in the treatment of cancer are given every two to four weeks, despite the fact that their half-life ranges from only a few hours to a few days. This means that for most of the length of cancer treatment cycle, the tumor is not exposed to drugs. Using our proprietary technology, we have engineered NKTR-102 and NKTR-105 to have reduced peak plasma concentrations, longer half-lives and continuous exposure profiles with the twin goals of prolonging tumor exposure to the drug, while at the same time reducing toxicities associated with these agents.

We believe that our technology offers the opportunity to design a cancer treatment with superior efficacy, an improved safety profile and potentially broader activity against a variety of tumor types. NKTR-102 is our most advanced anti-cancer compound. We're evaluating it in three Phase 2 clinical studies in ovarian, breast and colorectal cancers.

With NKTR-102, we are demonstrating how our polymer conjugate technology successfully alters the PK profile of the parent molecule to allow for sustained exposure of drugs to tumor. The half-life of the active metabolite of irinotecan is about 48 hours. In a typical irinotecan chemotherapy regimen therefore, tumors are getting drug exposure for a relatively short time and then two or three weeks pass before the next dose, during which time tumor cell division continues.

In addition, Irinotecan has a high Cmax which can result in acute toxicity. In contrast NKTR-102 was designed to have a much longer half-life. In our clinical studies it has demonstrated a half-life of approximately 50 days. In addition, the benefits of an optimized PK profile with a markedly reduced Cmax is that the drug also may offer advantages in its side effect profile, compared to the profile of the parent molecule.

Results from our Phase 2 trial in Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer were accepted for presentation at the upcoming ASCO meeting in Chicago on June 6th, during the gynecologic cancer oral session. The data from the 71 patient study evaluating single agent NKTR-102 will be featured in an oral presentation given by Dr. Ignace Vergote. Dr. Vergote is the lead clinical investigator of our Phase 2 study and head of obstetrics and gynecology at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

He has also served as chairman of the European organization for the research and treatment of cancer, gynecologic cancer group and is past President of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology. Following Dr. Vergote's presentation of the data, NKTR-102 will also be discussed in a session led by Dr. Claire Verschraegen, head of the gynecologic cancer unit at the University of New Mexico.

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