Lilly, Nektar Partner to Develop T-Cell Stimulator NKTR-358 for MS, Autoimmune Disorders

Alice Melão, MSc avatar

by Alice Melão, MSc |

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NKTR-358 for autoimmune disorders

Eli Lilly and Nektar Therapeutics have established a development and commercial agreement for the investigational T-cell stimulator therapy NKTR-358 for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis.

NKTR-358, discovered and initially developed by Nektar, has the potential to modulate immune system responses to re-establish an immune balance in patients with autoimmune disorders.

The treatment targets the interleukin 2 receptor complex (IL-2R) that is expressed on the surface of a subset of immune cells called regulatory T-cells, or Tregs. NKTR-358 activity stimulates the proliferation of Tregs, which in turn will regulate the activity of other immune cells that are uncontrolled and are responsible for the underlying mechanisms of autoimmune disorders.

“We look forward to working with Nektar to study this novel approach to treating a number of autoimmune conditions,” Thomas F. Bumol, PhD, senior vice president of biotechnology and immunology research at Eli Lilly, said in a press release.

“NKTR-358 is an exciting addition to our immunology portfolio and reinforces Lilly’s commitment to sustain a flow of innovative medicines in our pipeline.” Bumol added.

Under the agreement, Lilly and Nektar will continue to jointly develop NKTR-358. Nektar will be responsible for completing the ongoing Phase 1 clinical study; and Phase 2 clinical development costs will be shared by the two companies, with Lilly covering 75 percent of the costs and Nektar the remaining 25 percent.

Nektar will have the option to take part of the Phase 3 development of NKTR-358 on an indication-by-indication basis.

“We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Lilly as they have strong expertise in immunology and a successful track record in bringing novel therapies to market,” said Howard W. Robin, president and CEO of Nektar. “Importantly, this agreement enables the broad development of NKTR-358 in multiple autoimmune conditions in order to achieve its full potential as a first-in-class resolution therapeutic.”

Based on the announced agreement, Lilly will pay an initial amount of $150 million to Nektar, which will also be eligible to receive up to $250 million from additional development and regulatory milestones. In the future, Nektar may also receive royalties from the product depending on its investment in NKTR-358’s Phase 3 development and future product sales.

Lilly will cover all costs of global marketing of NKTR-358, and Nektar will have an option to co-promote the drug in the United States.

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