Nektar Restructures and its COO Steps Down

February 14, 2008
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Nektar Therapeutics eliminated approximately 150 positions as part of a restructuring program designed to help the company complete its transition from a drug-delivery service provider to a drug-development organization.

San Carlos, CA (Feb. 12)-Nektar Therapeutics eliminated approximately 150 positions as part of a restructuring program designed to help the company complete its transition from a drug-delivery service provider to a drug-development organization. The program will consolidate corporate functions and strengthen decision-making and execution within the company’s business units. Nektar is preserving the technical and manufacturing personnel and capabilities necessary to help it find a new partner for its inhaled insulin programs.

In a press release, Howard W. Robin, Nektar’s president and chief executive officer, said, “This restructuring aligns the organization with the future direction of our company and strengthens our ability to drive programs rapidly through the clinic.”

The company also announced that Hoyoung Huh will resign as Nektar’s chief operating officer and head of the PEGylation business unit. Huh will join BiPar Sciences (Brisbane, CA), a private biopharmaceutical company, as president and chief executive officer. Nektar appointed Huh to its board of directors, and he “will continue to play a strong leadership role at Nektar,” Robin said.

Nektar recently initiated Phase II clinical trials for its two leading PEGylated small-molecule programs, “NKTR-102” (PEG-irinotecan), for solid tumors, and “NKTR-118” (oral PEG-naloxol), for opioid bowel dysfunction. “NKTR-061” (inhaled amikacin), to treat hospital-acquired pneumonia, is expected to enter Phase III trials this year. NKTR-061 is the product of a collaboration with Bayer AG (Leverkusen, Germany).