Bay Area Anti-Cancer Drug Shows Promise

Nektar Fighting Breast Cancer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Bay Area biotech could get big boost. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

    More than one million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.  Now, a Silicon Valley biotech company is making progress in the effort to fight back.

    Nektar Therapeutics just got positive data on tests of its breast cancer drug (currently called NKTR-102), as 32 percent of patients with breast cancer saw positive results from the drug; 9 percent reportedly saw total resolution of their primary tumors. 

    It's still too early to dedclare victory; as I often write, biotech is a long haul when it comes to new drugs.  Investors take note:  Although Nektar (NKTR) shares have been climbing because of the new drug, the companies' decision to handle this one on its own have some investors looking for the exit. 

    Typically, a smaller company like Nektar will partner with a bit East Coast Pharma giant.  With Nektar (so far, at least) going solo, there is tremendous upside if things go well -- and one analyst is on record this morning as saying the market for the drug could be in the $1 to $2 billion range -- but without a safety net, the company could be in for rough times if things don't go smoothly.

    That said, it's an exciting development for a devastating disease.  NKTR-102 is also going through seperate trials for metastatic breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and colorectal cancer.  It's clearly one to watch and we'll keep our eyes on Nektar.

    Scott can be found on Twitter: @scottbudman