Shares of Nektar Therapeutics soared 18% toward a six-month high in premarket trade Monday, after reporting positive results of a late-stage trial of its opioid analgesic. The company said a phase 3 trial of NKTR-181, its treatment of pain without the high levels of euphoria that can lead to addiction with standard opioids, met its primary and secondary endpoints. NKTR-181 also demonstrated a favorable safety profile and was well tolerated. Nektar said the Food and Drug Administration granted the investigational medicine "fast track" designation for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain. "The data from this efficacy study are extremely important because they demonstrate that NKTR-181 produces strong analgesia in patients suffering from chronic pain while NKTR-181 has also demonstrated significantly lower abuse potential than oxycodone in a human abuse potential study," said Martin Hale, the clinical investigator of the study and medical director at Gold Coast Research. The stock had run up 26% year to date through Friday, while the S&P 500 had gained 6.2%.
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