NKTR

I am not impressed with the data that NKTR announced for the PIVOT trial at the SITC. The overall response rate was 53% with a median time to response of just over 2 months. This suggests to me that we are not going to see a much higher response rate with the new cohorts. They have had enough time to respond to treatment.

In comparison, the data at the SITC last year that created the buzz in the first place, the median time to response was 1.7 months. So I am sure the treatment has had time to show about as effective as it will get. There are bright spots, such as higher complete response rate, and higher response rates for PD-L1 positive patients, but I’d rather not take part in a stock with such questionable statistics at this point.

I am betting a lot of this has already been baked into the price. The stock fell 10% when the abstracts indicated the ORR was 50% in July so I’m sure expectations were not very high going into this. While there are still other opportunities with NKTR I’m inclined to sell on Monday as I do not wish to own stock in biotechs as I try to avoid the sector in general I just saw a stock getting hammered with what I saw as an obvious short attack and took a chance.

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About 10-12 months ago, I posted feedback from a drug discovery pharmacologist with pessimism re NKTR. I did take my share of flack - perhaps because it was not my own analysis ( I know nothing about drug development). Anyway, I resolved to hold NKTR for about a year and monitor the company.

I sold all my NKTR last week and will use the loss to offset my other capital gains.

My learnings:

  1. Stay away from companies I have zero understanding of - for me, that includes drugs, mining, and consumer goods / retailers.

  2. When Saul and company sell, I should just plain sell and not wait for my initially planned hold period nor some clear change that shows that the investment thesis no longer applies.

…Marc

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Comments about academic centers managing AEs better than others actually give more credence to that view because nothing in data presented so far showed nivo/214 combo had terrible/unique AE profile that required special handlings.

Yeah, for a drug touted as having minimal to nearly no side effects it is very hard to find academic centers managing AEs better a credible excuse. Very weak excuse imho.