Akhu Therapeutics is developing new medicines to treat anxiety and depression effectively, rapidly, and safely in humans and companion animals. Anxiety and depression are common mental illnesses, and major contributors to death and disability in humans. Separation anxiety is a major cause of the abandonment and euthanasia of dogs.
Unfortunately, antidepressants are not effective for most users, work very slowly, and have harmful side effects. Anxiolytics are moderately effective, but have harmful side effects, including addiction.
The biological target of a drug plays a crucial role in determining the number and severity of side effects. Our biological target is the melanocortin-5 receptor (MC5R), which is fundamentally different than that of any other treatment for depression or anxiety. MC5R blockers are expected to act differently in the brain and cause fewer and milder side effects.
Another problem with anxiolytics and antidepressants is that they are chemicals that remain active outside the body. As a result, they end up in streams and animals living in or near streams. In contrast, our lead compound is biodegradable and far less likely to pollute the environment.