Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, December 22, 2020: Kinoxis Therapeutics Pty Ltd, a pre-clinical stage biotechnology company developing novel therapies for substance use disorders and other central nervous system disorders, has completed a funding round of $5m to enable continued development of the company’s development programs. The round was strongly supported by existing shareholders and complements the ongoing grant funding from the US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA). Announced in September last year, the company was awarded a grant under The Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or NIH HEAL Initiative, with the potential of up to $US4.6 million ($A6.8 million) of funding to support the pre-clinical and clinical development of Kinoxis Therapeutics’ lead drug candidate, KNX100, for the treatment of opioid withdrawal.
The company has recently successfully completed several key pre-clinical toxicology studies with KNX100, enabling the next stage of planning for a Pre-Investigational New Drug (Pre-IND) meeting with the US FDA and the commencement of the company’s first human clinical trial, which is targeted to commence in the first half of 2020. KNX100 is a small molecule therapeutic drug candidate with a novel, undisclosed mechanism of action. The first indication being developed by the company for KNX100 is for the treatment of opioid withdrawal, but it has also demonstrated potent anti-addictive properties in many other pre-clinical substance use disorder models.
In addition to KNX100, the company has an extensive pre-clinical development program underway focused on compounds targeting the oxytocin receptor, which is a target of considerable interest for the treatment of a wide range of psychiatric disorders. In a significant expansion of this program, the company has recently secured from the University of Sydney access to two new patent families covering a completely novel way of targeting the oxytocin receptor. The compounds covered by these new patents will integrate with the company’s development efforts, which is focused on developing new therapeutics for treating conditions that that are characterized by a social dysfunction, such as autism, social anxiety disorder and schizophrenia.
“The completion of this funding round is another critical step as we build Kinoxis into a leading neuroscience company with a portfolio of valuable development assets. This allows us to continue the development of our drug candidates targeting the oxytocin receptor, in addition to our lead program, KNX100 for the treatment of opioid withdrawal.” said Mr Hugh Alsop, CEO of Kinoxis Therapeutics.
Kinoxis Chairman and Uniseed CEO, Peter Devine added: “Uniseed is pleased to continue our support of Kinoxis, whose novel compounds have the potential to provide a meaningful contribution to the treatment of several key neurological and psychiatric disorders. We look forward to starting clinical trials next year.”.
About Kinoxis Therapeutics
Kinoxis Therapeutics Pty Ltd was spun out of the University of Sydney in February 2018 through a funding round led by Uniseed (www.uniseed.com), a venture fund operating at the universities of Melbourne, Queensland, New South Wales and Sydney, as well as the CSIRO, with investment capital provided by these research organizations.
Kinoxis is developing a range of novel therapeutic small molecule compounds for the treatment of substance use disorders and other central nervous system disorders. The company has licensed these compounds from the University of Sydney, with the lead candidate demonstrating potent anti-addictive and prosocial effects in several different animal models and is progressing through pre-clinical testing.
Substance use disorders, including the abuse of alcohol, nicotine, illicit and prescription drugs, represent a considerable treatment challenge for health care professionals. There are currently only a limited number of drugs approved for the treatment of substance use disorders. The compounds licensed are the result of a collaboration between the School of Chemistry and School of Psychology, through projects led by Professor Michael Kassiou, Professor Iain McGregor and Dr Michael Bowen. The primary target of the company is the brain oxytocin system, which is the focus of much interest because of its central role in the positive regulation of social behaviour and its inhibitory effects on addictive behaviours. For more information, visit Kinoxis Therapeutics Pty Ltd
Uniseed is Australia’s longest running early stage commercialisation fund that makes investments in research emanating from five of Australia’s leading research organisations – The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales, The University of Melbourne and the CSIRO. Uniseed is a mutual fund, owned by research organisations, for research organisations. The fund facilitates the commercialisation of its research partners’ most promising intellectual property and secures targeted investment in resulting products and technologies. Uniseed has supported 57 start-up companies to date, being the seed investor in most of these. For more information, visit: www.uniseed.com