Nektar started “buy” at Roth
Roth Capital Partners has initiated coverage of Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR) with a “buy” rating and $10 price target, citing Nektar’s solid management team, material progress expected on multiple fronts in 2012 and beyond, and the stock trading below $7.
“A new Nektar Is emerging,” writes analyst Robert Hazlett, referring to the early stages of multiple catalysts from the company’s broad-based pipeline of partnered and internally-developed candidates, largely based on its widely-applied pegylation platform.
A recent win was approval in March of Affymax’s long-acting Omontys (peginesatide) for anemia, which should be followed later this year by progress with another large opportunity, Baxter’s BAX-855, a long-acting ADVATE for hemophelia A, which is scheduled to read out early stage data soon, and then move rapidly toward pivotal studies in 2012, according to Baxter.
Toward year end, Mr. Hazlett said Nektar will receive important Phase 3 results for its “potentially transforming collaboration” with AstraZeneca. The accord covers not only a novel pegylated naloxol (NKTR-118) for opioid-induced constipation, but also multiple co-formulations of that therapy with long-acting opioids, for which Nektar could receive $310 million in development milestones, several hundred million in sales milestones, and global royalties between 18-25%.
Nektar also has two significant proprietary programs: NKTR-181, a “potentially game-changing” peg-modified opioid, designed to have a slow rate of CNS entry and therefore lower sedation, abuse potential, and even possibly respiratory depression, and NKTR-102, a peg-modified irinotecan for oncology, designed to have improved efficacy with its long half-life, he added.
Also tucked into the year should be a long-awaited Phase 3 start for inhaled amikacin, partnered with Bayer, for which Nektar is to receive a 30% royalty in the U.S., and additional news from Map/Allergan for Levadex for migraine, for which it receives a mid-single digit royalty.