Nektar Up 6.32% Today On Opioid Data Presentation

Frankly, my holdings of shares and options on Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) are driving me nuts.

The stock is just so volatile that I can barely stand it even though I’m comfortable with the long-term trajectory of the company’s new non-addictive opioid and its leading immuno-oncology drug.

Today, June 14, the shares were up 6.32%, which pushes them nearer the strike price of $60 on the August 17 call options I hold in the Volatility Portfolio. (To follow that portfolio you’ll have to subscribe to one of my paid sites, either or That position is now only 8% underwater. The shares that I hold in the Jubak Picks Portfolio have rebounded so that they now show a gain of 52.05% since I added them to the portfolio on November 13, 2017. That is, if you’ve managed to hold on through all the volatility. (Full disclosure: I own both shares and call options on Nektar in my personal portfolios.)

The reason for today’s gain? The company reported clinical data for NKTR-181, that new non-addictive opioid at the meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence in San Diego. Nektar submitted a new drug application for NKTR-181 to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration at the very end of May for the treatment of low back pain, the second most common cause of disability for adults in the United States.

The company characterized the data this way: “The data presented show that NKTR-181 demonstrates consistently low abuse potential when we look at a range of measurements used to understand potential abuse liability of investigational medicines including the MADDERS assessment. In addition, we demonstrated in our preclinical research that NKTR-181 has a unique neuropharmacodynamic profile with slow brain uptake and a blunted dopamine response as compared to oxycodone.” The data presented to the FDA comprised 15 studies in 2,234 subjects.