Nektar Therapeutics

01/16/2014 8:00 am EST

Focus: HEALTHCARE

John McCamant

Editor, Medical Technology Stock Letter

Based upon several proprietary platform technologies, our favorite speculation for the coming year is a biotech with a deep pipeline of partnered and wholly-owned drug candidates in clinical development, notes John McCamant, editor of The Medical Technology Stock Letter.

Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) is expected to get FDA approval this year for its lead drug naloxegol, a once-a-day pill for opioid-induced constipation (OIC). The drug is licensed to AstraZeneca. NKTR will receive up to $245 million in milestone payments, plus royalties.

Late-stage results, and a subsequent FDA filing for BAX-855, a long-acting Factor VIII for hemophilia (partnered with Baxter (BAX)), are also expected this year.

Prospects are bright and rising for the Company's fully-owned novel compounds, including NKTR-102 (oncology) and NKTR-181 (pain).

Phase III trials for NKTR-102 for breast cancer, are due by year-end. NKTR-181 is a new chemical entity (NCE) painkiller developed by NKTR that does not result in the high often associated with addictive and life-threatening chronic opioid use.

The FDA is eager to find safer alternatives to pain drugs, such as oxycontin. Phase III trials are expected to begin by mid-year.

NKTR is poised for a productive 2014, with new drug approvals, Phase III data, and multiple clinical trials that will bridge the company's transition from partnered products to an internally discovered, developed, and marketed portfolio. NKTR is a buy under $13, with a target price of $20.

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