March 17, 2015 / 10:32 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Nektar drug fails late-stage study in breast cancer patients

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March 17 (Reuters) - Nektar Therapeutics said its experimental drug failed to meet the main goal in previously treated patients with advanced breast cancer in a late-stage study.

The drug, NKTR-102, provided a 2.1 month improvement in median overall survival over patients on chemotherapy in the trial, but the effect was not statistically significant, the company said.

The company’s stock fell about 16 percent in extended trade.

Patients in the study either received the drug or a single chemotherapy agent. It enrolled 852 women with locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer who previously had been treated with anthracycline, taxane and capecitabine and had progressed following treatment.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. This year, an estimated 207,000 women will be diagnosed with the cancer and over 39,000 women will die from the disease in the United States.

Nektar is exploring potential paths forward for NKTR-102 in metastatic breast cancer with regulatory agencies, it said on Tuesday.

The drug is a long-acting topoisomerase I-inhibitor designed to concentrate in tumor tissue, provide sustained tumor suppression throughout the entire chemotherapy cycle, and to minimize toxicities.

It is also being tested in several other cancers.

Nektar’s stock closed at $14.13 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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