Nektar Announces Key Executive Promotions to Drive the Continued Growth of the Company's Immuno-Oncology Pipeline

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Nektar Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NKTR) announced today several promotions on its executive leadership team: 

  • Stephen Doberstein, Ph.D., has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Research & Development and Chief Research & Development Officer;
  • Mary Tagliaferri, M.D., has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer;
  • Jonathan Zalevsky, Ph.D., has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Research and Chief Scientific Officer.

"I am exceptionally pleased to announce today's promotions which highlight the talent, skill set and extensive achievements of our executive team," said Howard W. Robin, President and CEO of Nektar Therapeutics. "With the growth in the development of Nektar's unique and wholly-owned immuno-oncology portfolio and our submission of an NDA filing for NKTR-181, it is critical that we have the right leadership in place to drive the continued success of our pipeline and the company."

Dr. Doberstein has over 25 years of experience in biotechnology research and development. Since joining Nektar in January 2010, he has spearheaded the discovery team at Nektar, which led to the identification and growth of the company's proprietary pipeline of drug candidates. This included development of NKTR-181 (a first-in-class opioid analgesic with strategic brain entry kinetics) and NKTR-214 (a CD122-biased agonist that is currently in multiple clinical studies across a wide range of tumor types). Dr. Doberstein also serves as a representative of Nektar for the National Institute of Health (NIH) Public/Private Initiative to Address the Opioid Crisis.  Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Doberstein was Vice President of Research at XOMA where he was responsible for directing discovery and development of multiple drug candidates, including antibody discovery and support of clinical development through non-clinical safety, translational medicine and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics. Previously, Dr. Doberstein served as Vice President, Research at Five Prime Therapeutics, a protein and antibody discovery and development company where he built and led the discovery research and process development group. While at Five Prime, he created several successful drug candidate programs that resulted in multiple strategic alliances with pharmaceutical partners, and moved a number of product candidates from concept to clinical stage in diabetes, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Prior to that, Dr. Doberstein was the Vice President of Research at Xencor, and also held senior leadership positions at Exelixis.

Dr. Tagliaferri has 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical drug development in oncology and women's health as well as extensive regulatory expertise. Dr. Tagliaferri joined Nektar in January 2015 as Vice President, Clinical Development. During her tenure at Nektar, she has provided strategic development leadership for the company's immuno-oncology portfolio, including NKTR-214, a CD122 biased agonist, which is in multiple clinical studies across a wide range of tumor types. She serves as strategic development leader for the clinical collaboration between Nektar and Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Prior to joining Nektar, she was a clinical and regulatory consultant to InterMune before its acquisition by Roche.  She also served as Chief Medical Officer at KangLaiTe USA, a privately-held biotechnology company which develops oncology drug candidates in multiple solid tumor settings. Dr. Tagliaferri was also co-founder and President and Chief Medical Officer of BioNovo where she led the company's clinical drug development strategy and global regulatory affairs, led data management and biostatistics, and oversaw clinical operations and compliance. Dr. Tagliaferri received the 2012 State of California Woman of the Year award for her advancements of clinical research in women's health and her mentorship of women in the biotechnology field.

Dr. Zalevsky joined Nektar in July 2015 as Vice President of Biology and Preclinical Development to lead biological and translational research and guide strategy for the Nektar discovery portfolio. During his tenure at the company, Dr. Zalevsky's expertise in immunology, as well as his experience across biological modalities and therapeutic areas, have helped fuel the growth of the company's immuno-oncology and immunology pipeline. Dr. Zalevsky led the discovery and preclinical development for NKTR-358 (a T regulatory cell stimulatory agent being developed for auto-immune diseases with partner Eli Lilly & Co.) and NKTR-262 (a small molecule TLR agonist being developed in combination with NKTR-214). Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Zalevsky had over 15 years of experience within both large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. Previously, Dr. Zalevsky was Global Vice President and Head of the Inflammation Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. As the leading immunologist for Takeda, he was responsible for an immunology pipeline that spanned from early target discovery to late-stage development and launched products.  Prior to working at Takeda, Dr. Zalevsky held a number of research and development positions at Xencor, where he was responsible for the discovery and development of Xencor's first four clinical-stage assets.

About Nektar
Nektar Therapeutics is a research-based biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover and develop innovative medicines to address the unmet medical needs of patients. Our R&D pipeline of new investigational medicines includes treatments for cancer, auto-immune disease and chronic pain. We leverage Nektar's proprietary and proven chemistry platform in the discovery and design of our new therapeutic candidates. Nektar is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with additional operations in Huntsville, Alabama and Hyderabad, India. Further information about the company and its drug development programs and capabilities may be found online at

For Investors: 
Jennifer Ruddock of Nektar Therapeutics

Jodi Sievers of Nektar Therapeutics

For Media:
Jennifer Paganelli 


SOURCE Nektar Therapeutics

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