Nektar Therapeutics and Bristol-Myers Squibb Announce U.S. FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Bempegaldesleukin (NKTR-214) in Combination with Opdivo® (nivolumab) for the Treatment of Patients with Untreated Advanced Melanoma

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA I August 1, 2019 I Nektar Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NKTR) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for investigational agent bempegaldesleukin (NKTR-214) in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo® (nivolumab) for the treatment of patients with previously untreated unresectable or metastatic melanoma. The Breakthrough Therapy Designation is based on clinical data which were recently reported at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting from the cohort of patients with metastatic melanoma that were treated with the doublet therapy in the ongoing PIVOT-02 Phase 1/2 clinical study.

FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation is intended to expedite the development and review of medicines aimed at treating a serious or life-threatening disease where there is preliminary clinical evidence that the investigational therapy may offer substantial improvement over existing therapies on at least one clinically significant endpoint.

Bempegaldesleukin, Nektar's lead immuno-oncology candidate, is an investigational CD122-preferential IL-2 pathway agonist designed to provide activation and proliferation of cancer-killing immune cells, known as CD8+ effector T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. A Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating bempegaldesleukin in combination with nivolumab versus nivolumab in first-line advanced melanoma patients is currently recruiting patients (NCT03635983). 

"In collaboration with our partner Bristol-Myers Squibb, we plan to work closely with FDA as we continue to advance our development program of bempegaldesleukin in combination with nivolumab in advanced melanoma patients," said Dr. Stephen Doberstein, SVP, Research and Development and Chief R&D Officer of Nektar Therapeutics. "Our teams are encouraged by the deepening of responses we observed in patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma who received the doublet therapy in our PIVOT-02 study. We look forward to continuing to provide updated results at a future medical meeting as the data mature further in this ongoing cohort of melanoma patients."

In February 2018, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Nektar executed a global strategic development and commercialization collaboration for bempegaldesleukin.

About Bempegaldesleukin (NKTR-214)
Bempegaldesleukin is designed to stimulate cancer-killing immune cells in the body by targeting CD122 receptors found on the surface of these immune cells. CD122, which is also known as the Interleukin-2 receptor beta subunit, is a key signaling receptor that is known to increase proliferation of these effector T cells.1 In clinical and preclinical studies, treatment with bempegaldesleukin resulted in expansion of these cells and mobilization into the tumor micro-environment.2,3

About Nektar
Nektar Therapeutics is a research-based, development stage biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover and develop innovative medicines to address the unmet medical needs of patients. Our R&D pipeline of new investigational medicines includes treatments for cancer, autoimmune disease and chronic pain. We leverage Nektar's proprietary and proven chemistry platform in the discovery and design of our new therapeutic candidates. Nektar is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with additional operations in Huntsville, Alabama and Hyderabad, India. Further information about the company and its drug development programs and capabilities may be found online at http://www.nektar.com.

Bristol-Myers Squibb: Advancing Oncology Research
At Bristol-Myers Squibb, patients are at the center of everything we do. The focus of our research is to increase quality, long-term survival for patients and make cure a possibility. Through a unique multidisciplinary approach powered by translational science, we harness our deep scientific experience in oncology and Immuno-Oncology (I-O) research to identify novel treatments tailored to individual patient needs. Our researchers are developing a diverse, purposefully built pipeline designed to target different immune system pathways and address the complex and specific interactions between the tumor, its microenvironment and the immune system. We source innovation internally, and in collaboration with academia, government, advocacy groups and biotechnology companies, to help make the promise of transformational medicines, like I-O, a reality for patients.

About Opdivo
Opdivo is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor that is designed to uniquely harness the body's own immune system to help restore anti-tumor immune response. By harnessing the body's own immune system to fight cancer, Opdivo has become an important treatment option across multiple cancers.

Opdivo's leading global development program is based on Bristol-Myers Squibb's scientific expertise in the field of Immuno-Oncology, and includes a broad range of clinical trials across all phases, including Phase 3, in a variety of tumor types. To date, the Opdivo clinical development program has treated more than 35,000 patients. The Opdivo trials have contributed to gaining a deeper understanding of the potential role of biomarkers in patient care, particularly regarding how patients may benefit from Opdivo across the continuum of PD-L1 expression.

In July 2014, Opdivo was the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world. Opdivo is currently approved in more than 65 countries, including the United States, the European Union, Japan and China. In October 2015, the Company's Opdivo and Yervoy combination regimen was the first Immuno-Oncology combination to receive regulatory approval for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and is currently approved in more than 60 countries, including the United States and the European Union.

U.S. FDA-APPROVED INDICATIONS FOR OPDIVO® 
OPDIVO® (nivolumab) as a single agent is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab), in combination with YERVOY® (ipilimumab), is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients with EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations should have disease progression on FDA-approved therapy for these aberrations prior to receiving OPDIVO.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with progression after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least one other line of therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) who have received prior anti-angiogenic therapy.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab), in combination with YERVOY® (ipilimumab), is indicated for the treatment of patients with intermediate or poor risk, previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) that has relapsed or progressed after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and brentuximab vedotin or after 3 or more lines of systemic therapy that includes autologous HSCT. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) with disease progression on or after platinum-based therapy.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab), as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric (12 years and older) patients with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) that has progressed following treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab), in combination with YERVOY® (ipilimumab), is indicated for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) that has progressed following treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph nodes or metastatic disease who have undergone complete resection.

Checkmate Trials and Patient Populations
Checkmate 037
–previously treated metastatic melanoma; Checkmate 066–previously untreated metastatic melanoma; Checkmate 067–previously untreated metastatic melanoma, as a single agent or in combination with YERVOY; Checkmate 017–second-line treatment of metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer; Checkmate 057–second-line treatment of metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer; Checkmate 032–small cell lung cancer; Checkmate 025–previously treated renal cell carcinoma; Checkmate 214–previously untreated renal cell carcinoma, in combination with YERVOY; Checkmate 205/039–classical Hodgkin lymphoma; Checkmate 141–recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; Checkmate 275–urothelial carcinoma; Checkmate 142–MSI-H or dMMR metastatic colorectal cancer, as a single agent or in combination with YERVOY; Checkmate 040–hepatocellular carcinoma; Checkmate 238–adjuvant treatment of melanoma.

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical Collaboration
In 2011, through a collaboration agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb expanded its territorial rights to develop and commercialize Opdivo globally, except in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where Ono had retained all rights to the compound at the time. On July 23, 2014, Ono and Bristol-Myers Squibb further expanded the companies' strategic collaboration agreement to jointly develop and commercialize multiple immunotherapies – as single agents and combination regimens – for patients with cancer in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

SOURCE: Bristol-Myers Squibb

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