Kappa-opioid receptor (κ) antagonists are potential therapeutic agents for a range of psychiatric disorders. The feasibility of developing κ-antagonists has been limited by the pharmacodynamic properties of prototypic κ-selective antagonists, that is, they inhibit receptor signalling for weeks after a single administration. To address this issue, novel trans-(3R,4R)-dimethyl-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl) piperidine derivatives, based on JDTic, were designed using soft-drug principles. The aim was to determine if the phenylpiperidine-based series of κ-antagonists was amenable to incorporation of a potentially metabolically labile group, whilst retaining good affinity and selectivity for the κ-receptor. Opioid receptor binding affinity and selectivity of three novel compounds (BU09057, BU09058 and BU09059) were tested. BU09059, which most closely resembles JDTic, had nanomolar affinity for the κ-receptor, with 15-fold and 616-fold selectivity over μ and δreceptors, respectively. In isolated tissues, BU09059 was a potent and selective κ-antagonist (pA2 8.62) compared with BU09057 (pA2 6.87) and BU09058 (pA2 6.76) which were not κ-selective. In vivo, BU09059 (3 and 10 mg/kg) significantly blocked U50,488-induced antinociception and was as potent as, but shorter acting than, the prototypic selective κ-antagonist norBNI. These data show that a new JDTic analogue, BU09059, retains high affinity and selectivity for the κ-receptor and has a shorter duration of κ-antagonist action in vivo.