US firm Nektar Therapeutics‘ initial trial of its NKTR-102 drug has been shown to slow down the progression of ovarian cancer in women who are resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy.

The single-agent NKTR-102 is a topoisomerase I inhibitor-polymer conjugate with reduced peak concentrations and a continuous concentration profile.

The first stage of a two-stage Phase II clinical study of the drug, conducted in 39 women, has shown improvement in the median progression-free survival (PFS), which is a measure of how long patients live without their disease advancing.

Women who took the drug every three weeks had a median PFS of 21 weeks and those who took the drug once every 14 days had a median PFS of 12.2 weeks, compared to the US Food and Drug Administration’s approved median PFS of between 9.1 and 13.6 weeks.

Full data for the Phase II study is expected to be revealed later this year, with a total of 71 patients having finished enrolment.