NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Nektar Therapeutics rose Thursday after a Cowen & Co. analyst started coverage with an "Outperform" rating, praising the company's group of experimental drugs.
THE SPARK: Analyst Simos Simeonidis said Nektar has a diverse pipeline of drugs and partnerships with several other companies, which shows there is broad confidence in the company's technology. He said Nektar's partnerships mean the company faces little risk on its most advanced drugs, and it will get significant revenue if those products are approved.
Nektar's most advanced drugs include naloxegol, which is designed to treat constipation caused by opioid pain drugs, and the hemophilia treatment BAX-855.
Simeonidis said Nektar hasn't committed too much money to just naloxegol and BAX-855, so it still owns several promising therapies outright. He set a price target of $17 per share.
THE BIG PICTURE: The San Francisco company's development partner on naloxegol is British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC, which plans to file for marketing approval of the drug in September. Baxter International Inc. owns the rights to BAX-855. Nektar will get royalties on sales of both drugs if regulators approve them.
Nektar is also studying a drug candidate called NKTR-102 as a treatment for cancers of the breast, ovaries, colon, and gastrointestinal tract, and NKTR-181 as a treatment for chronic pain. It is also researching other hemophilia drugs with Baxter, anti-infection drugs with Bayer AG, and anti-inflammatory drugs with UCB Pharma. Nektar will also get revenue from Allergan Inc. if the migraine treatment Levadex is approved.
SHARE ACTION: Nektar Therapeutics shares reached a two-year high of $14.06 Thursday, and in afternoon trading the stock was up 27 cents at $13.58. The stock was worth $7.41 per share at the end of 2012, and it last traded at $17 in December 2006.