SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) on Thursday reported a loss of $33.8 million in its fourth quarter.
The San Francisco-based company said it had a loss of 21 cents per share. Losses, adjusted for asset impairment costs, were 14 cents per share.
Nektar's stock pop followed its crushing fourth-quarter sales beat. Even without $60 million related to a nonrecurring sublicense agreement, Nektar's $95.5 million in sales still would have beat the Street's forecast for $31 million. Losses of 21 cents per share narrowed year over year and beat views for a 38-cent loss.
Analysts are also bullish on Nektar's immuno-oncology drug, NKTR-214. The drug is designed to grow cancer-killing immune cells and natural killer cells in the body to fight cancer. Last month, Nektar said it would team up with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) to test NKTR-214 in regimens using Bristol's drugs.
Bristol's drugs, Opdivo and Yervoy, are also immuno-oncology compounds. Opdivo works by targeting interactions in the immune system involving the PD-1 and PD-L1 proteins. Yervoy is known as a CTLA-4 inhibitor. Combining immuno-oncology drugs is expected to offer a more potent response.
Within 14 months, Nektar and Bristol have 20 registrational studies with 15,000 patients in nine tumor types slated to begin. The first studies will be in melanoma and kidney cancer. Importantly, the deal allows Nektar to continue combinations with drugs from Dow components Merck (MRK) and Roche (RHHBY).
Canaccord analyst Arlinda Lee upped her price target on Nektar to 94 from 80 and kept her buy rating.