Nektar Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company with a robust, wholly owned R&D pipeline of investigational medicines in oncology, immunology, and virology as well as a portfolio of approved partnered medicines. The company reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended 2020.
Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $152.9 million as compared to $114.6 million in 2019 and was higher primarily due to the recognition of $50.0 million in total milestones from Bristol-Myers Squibb related to the start of two new registrational trials of bempegaldesleukin plus Opdivo® (nivolumab) in adjuvant melanoma and muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Cash and investments in marketable securities at December 31, 2020 were approximately $1.2 billion as compared to $1.6 billion at December 31, 2019. Total operating costs and expenses for full year 2020 increased as compared to 2019 primarily as a result of $45.2 million in impairment charges in the first quarter of 2020 resulting from the discontinuation of the NKTR-181 program, partially offset by a decrease in R&D expense. Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $444.4 million or $2.49 basic and diluted loss per share as compared to net loss of $440.7 million or $2.52 basic and diluted loss per share in 2019.
In addition, Nektar Therapeutics has entered into a clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with Merck (MSD) for a Phase 2/3 study of bempegaldesleukin (NKTR-214, BEMPEG), Nektar’s investigational IL-2 pathway agent, in combination with Merck’s KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or unresectable recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) whose tumors express PD-L1 (Combined Positive Score [CPS] ≥1). The study is planned to start in the second half of 2021. Under the terms of the agreement, Nektar will conduct the Phase 2/3 study, which is expected to enroll 500 patients with metastatic or recurrent SCCHN with PD-L1 expressing tumors.