Nektar announced the initiation of dosing in a Phase 1 clinical trial of NKTR-181 for the treatment of pain. This study will access the pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, safety and efficacy of a single dose of NKTR-181 in up to 75 healthy subjects. The primary objective of the trial is to establish the effective analgesic dose range of NKTR-181 associated with minimal CNS side effects. Endpoints in the study include standard measurements of pain relief and standard measurements of CNS effects, such as euphoria, respiratory depression and pupillary response. Nektar expects to complete the study in the second half of 2011.

NKTR-181 is a mu-opioid analgesic, which was designed to cross the blood-brain barrier at a substantially slower rate than other opioid therapies, reducing the euphoria that underlies opioid abuse liability and dependence, as well as serious CNS-related side effects.

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