Nektar Therapeutics’ impressive recovery from the disaster that was Exubera gathered new momentum today with the licensing of two gastrointestinal (GI) related pipeline candidates to AstraZeneca for a combined potential value of $1.5bn. The deal sent shares in the drug-modifying technology company up 16% to $9.78 in early trade, a two-year high which matches Nektar’s valuation prior to the Exubera debacle.As for Astra, having spun-off a significant portion of its GI research capabilities with the formation of Alberio Pharma 18 months ago, the deal with Nektar represents something of a U-turn. Many commentators understood the Alberio spin-off to represent the turning of Astra’s back on the overall GI field, outside of its ongoing commercial commitments to Nexium and some specific research into new products for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
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