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Lilly and Nektar to jointly develop and commercialize autoimmune therapy

Published 25 July 2017

Eli Lilly and Company and Nektar Therapeutics have agreed to jointly develop NKTR-358, a novel immunological therapy discovered by the latter.

NKTR-358, which achieved first human dose in Phase 1 clinical development in March of 2017, has the potential to treat a number of autoimmune and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

NKTR-358 is a potential first-in-class resolution therapeutic that may address an underlying immune system imbalance in patients with many autoimmune conditions. It targets the interleukin (IL-2) receptor complex in the body in order to stimulate proliferation of powerful inhibitory immune cells known as regulatory T cells.

By activating these cells, NKTR-358 may act to bring the immune system back into balance. This could lead to a profound clinical impact and healthy organ function in autoimmune conditions.

"We look forward to working with Nektar to study this novel approach to treating a number of autoimmune conditions," said Thomas F. Bumol, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Biotechnology and Immunology Research at Lilly. "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."

Under the terms of the agreement, Nektar will receive an initial payment of $150 million and is eligible for up to $250 million in additional development and regulatory milestones. Lilly and Nektar will co-develop NKTR-358 with Nektar responsible for completing Phase 1 clinical development.

The parties will share Phase 2 development costs 75 percent Lilly and 25 percent Nektar. Nektar will have the option to participate in Phase 3 development on an indication-by-indication basis.

Nektar has the opportunity to receive double-digit royalties that increase commensurate with their Phase 3 investment and product sales. Lilly will be responsible for all costs of global commercialization. Nektar will have an option to co-promote in the U.S. under certain conditions.

"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, Nektar's President and Chief Executive Officer. "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."

This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. Subject to the closing of this transaction, Lilly expects to incur an acquired in-process research and development charge to earnings in 2017 of approximately $0.09 per share.

The company's reported earnings per share guidance in 2017 is expected to be reduced by the amount of the charge. There will be no change to the company's non-GAAP earnings per share guidance as a result of this transaction.



Source: Company Press Release