Kinoxis Therapeutics Pty Ltd is a start-up company from the University of Sydney that is developing a novel therapy for addiction. Substance use disorders, including the abuse of alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs, represent a considerable treatment challenge for health care professionals and are a significant economic burden. There are currently only a limited number of drugs approved for substance use disorders, and there currently no approved pharmacological treatments for methamphetamine or cocaine use disorders.
The multi-disciplinary research team from the School of Chemistry and School of Psychology at the University of Sydney has discovered a family of small molecules that act to indirectly stimulate the oxytocin system of the brain. Oxytocin, an endogenous neuropeptide, is the focus of much contemporary interest due to its central role in the positive regulation of social behaviour and its inhibitory effects on addictive behaviours. Targeting the brain oxytocin system has the potential to treat addiction to all major classes of addictive substance and to intervene across all stages of the addiction cycle.