Lilly and Nektar Therapeutics announce alliance to develop a novel autoimmune therapy

Lilly Ok

Eli Lilly and Company and Nektar Therapeutics have announced a strategic collaboration to co-develop NKTR-358, a novel immunological therapy discovered by Nektar. 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.”