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Nektar forms new unit Inheris Biopharma to commercialize back pain drug

Nektar Therapeutics said it formed a new unit called Inheris Biopharma Inc. that will be responsible for launching and commercializing its lower back pain treatment candidate NKTR-181.

The San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company's opioid medication is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is set to decide on the therapy by Aug. 29.

NKTR-181's mechanism allows it to reduce pain but with reduced side effects, such as the high normally associated with opioid medication.

The new company will be based in northern New Jersey and will also develop several of Nektar's preclinical central nervous system assets. It will be headed by Jay Galeota as president and CEO.

Galeota has been the president of G & W Laboratories Inc. He also worked with Merck & Co. Inc. for 28 years and has served as their chief strategy and business development officer and president of emerging businesses.

Nektar develops drug candidates for cancer, autoimmune disease and chronic pain in the U.S.