A nose for stress

 
Published: Monday 31 August 1998

The world's first drug to work by smell is to begin clinical trials later this month. Kiotech, a UK-based biotechnology company, has applied for approval of a drug to alleviate anxiety. The company is developing a family of odour drugs that, claim company spokespersons, will relieve anxiety, sleeping disorders and even weight loss. These new drugs, the company explained, activate certain receptor cells in the nose that translate smells into brain signals. Kiotech has appointed Pharmakopius, a British contract development company, to oversee an application to the Medicines Control Agency for approval of its first drug, Osmone 1, the anxiety reliever. The company estimates that the licensing of Osmone 1 will be pretty expensive and can take up to two to three years. By proving its medical efficacy, Kiotech hopes to position Osmone 1 in the pharmaceutical mainstream rather than the alternative health market.

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