Nektar to team with Bayer on inhaled antibiotic

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Nektar Therapeutics, co-marketer of the inhaled insulin Exubera, has inked a deal to jointly develop an inhaled antibiotic to treat pneumonia with German drugmaker Bayer.

Under the agreement, Bayer will pay $50 million up front and then as much as $125 million more to Nektar as the companies meet certain milestones.

If the product is approved, Bayer and Nektar would co-promote the drug in the US and share the profits. Nektar would receive tiered performance royalties of up to 30% outside the US, under the deal.

Nektar's product, NKTR-061, is currently in mid-stage clinical trials to treat serious hospital acquired pneumonia.

The developmental product is a reformulated version of the antibiotic amikacin, which can become toxic when delivered intraveneously, Nektar CEO Howard Robin told Reuters news service.

Nektar developed its drug, along with a proprietary device system, to be delivered directly through a ventilator into the lungs.

“Now you can get very, very high concentrations of this reformulated amikacin antibiotic in the lungs with very little in the blood and therefore you don't see any toxicity,” Robin said.
 
Robin told Reuters he expects the companies to start late-stage clinical trials in the first half of 2008, with the product on track to hit the market in 2010 or 2011.

Robin predicts peak NKTR-061 annual sales of $500 million to $1 billion.

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