Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR) disclosed that it has signed a clinical study partnership and supply agreement with Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK). The US-based biotechnology firm has signed the contract with Merck for Phase 2/3 study of bempegaldesleukin in conjunction with Merck's KEYTRUDA.

Both the firms joined hands to discover the cure for the sufferers who are experiencing metastatic or unresectable recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Nektar and Merck both are intending to commence the study in the first half of 2021.

Share of Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR) soared 11.31% during the trading session of Wednesday. In the past 52-weeks of trading, this firm's share traded up from a low point around $13.63 and traded down $25.06 in the past 52-weeks of high range. Its shares surged 84.59% and 0.40% from its 52-week low and its 52-week high, respectively. This company’s market capitalization has remained high, hitting $4.01 billion at the time of writing.

As per the deal, Nektar Therapeutics will carry out the Phase 2/3 trial and is anticipating registering 500 patients. Patients will be randomly assigned to get either the mix of BEMPEG plus pembrolizumab or pembrolizumab alone. The Phase 2 part of the study will analyze the overall response rate (ORR) after the first 200 registered patients have at least the minimum follow-up of 4 months.

If the ORR follows a predetermined ineffectiveness limit, the research will proceed, and the leftover 300 sufferers will be registered to the Phase 3 part of the study. The main termination point of the study is ORR and overall survival (OS). On the other hand, progression-free survival (PFS) is a second termination point.