Bristol-Myers Squibb, seeking a new way to make its cancer immunotherapies more effective, is paying a shockingly steep — some will say desperate — price to lock up rights to an experimental drug from Nektar Therapeutics.

Under deal terms announced Wednesday, Bristol is paying $1 billion in cash and will make a $850 million equity investment in Nektar at an above-market price in exchange for non-exclusive rights to develop NKTR-214.

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