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Why Nektar Therapeutics Shares Soared

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR  ) , a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing drug candidates utilizing its proprietary PEGylation and polymer conjugate technology platforms, surged as much as 17% following a favorable ruling from an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration.

So what: Nektar, which helped design Movantik, an investigational treatment for opioid-induced constipation that's licensed globally to AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN  ) , along with other developers of opioid-induced chronic constipation therapies known as peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists, were given a free pass after the closing bell yesterday when the FDA's Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee voted against requiring these drug manufacturers to complete a large cardiovascular outcomes trial. In total seven voted in favor of trials, five voted in favor of select trials, and 12 voted against the need for cardiovascular outcomes studies.

Now what: The good news for Nektar, as well as other OIC constipation drug developers is they won't have to spend millions of dollars and years testing the long-term effects of their drugs. As Reuters even reported, some panelists admitted to misunderstanding the question in a post vote discussion and would likely have switched their vote against the need for a CV outcomes trial. Nektar is an intriguing company that I'd suggest biotech-savvy investors keep a close eye on. Because of its predominantly complementary technology it tends to forge a lot of collaborations, giving the company a pretty healthy royalty stream. On the downside, despite a healthy pipeline, it looks as if sustained profitability is still a few years off. Nonetheless, its pipeline depth and proprietary technology may make it an intriguing play for the long-term, and as such I'd suggest adding Nektar to your watchlist.

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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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9/1/2015 4:00 PM
NKTR $10.75 Down -0.30 -2.71%
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