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7 psychedelic therapy companies dealing with mental health : INVESTMENT

Do you remember the time when you tore the sink out of the wall after a little too big sip of Electric Kool-Aid when you suffered from self-inflicted schizophrenia – only to have mentally reappeared after watching it Willy Wonk and the chocolate factory (the version with Gene Wilder, of course)? Oh, was it just us? It turns out that trip balls can have positive therapeutic benefits. Some ancient cultures had shamans who used natural psychedelics like mushrooms and ayahuasca to not only expand the mind but heal it. Of course, modern entrepreneur gurus are working on ways to commercialize psychedelic therapy by developing drugs based on active ingredients such as psilocybin in mushrooms.

Brief history of modern psychedelic therapy research

There are a few names you should know when you go on a nickel tour of the history of modern psychedelic therapy research. One of them is the chemist Albert Hoffmann, who discovered LSD in the mid-1950s. He also isolated the active ingredients from mushrooms, psilocybin and psilocin. When you saw that The Wizard of Oz and listed by Pink Floyd on the “Dark Side of the Moon” and found the experience to be transcendent, thank you Mr. Hoffmann. Another Hoffmann, Abbie Hoffman, helped launch the counterculture movement of the 1960s after he was first exposed to LSD in some early military-sponsored experiments. Psychologist Timothy Leary is probably the most famous and controversial figure who claims psychedelics could be good medicine for the mind. He also liked to stumble. A lot of.

The graphic shows an increasing number of research studies on psychedelic therapy.
Photo credit: CB Insights

This first trip to psychedelic therapy pretty much ended with the 1970s Controlled Substances Act. The recent wave in psychedelic research appears to be following after people are made to take cannabis seriously as a useful drug. The commercial success of GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) The CBD industry has certainly opened up to the development of an FDA-approved commercial drug for rare forms of epilepsy. Studies suggest that CBD oil can help Alleviate fear and Reduce inflammation. There is also increasing scientific evidence that psychedelics like mushrooms cure addiction, relieve anxiety and depression, and even treat PTSD.

How does psychedelic therapy work??

Most, if not all, of the active ingredients identified in psychedelics affect the various neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, particularly the serotonin receptors, which can alter your body’s emotions, eyesight, and physical reality. (For more information, see Rolling Stone how psychedelics work.) In combination with a small targeted therapy, a dose of mushrooms can work wonders. For example in a particular study80% of hardcore smokers quit the habit after 15 weeks of smoking cessation treatment compared to an average of 35% who quit otherwise. ON wide review The psychedelic assisted therapy published just last month provided clinical evidence that psilocybin can treat depression, for example. An earlier review showed evidence of treatment Addiction and substance abuse.

Studies show the power of psychedelics.
Photo credit: CB Insights

While most antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications only suppress symptoms, psilocybin and other psychedelic chemicals seem to change the way the brain processes memory and information and directly treats the disease. To roughly paraphrase Aldus Huxley: The doors of perception have been opened wide to help people deal with the “things” that hold them. And now that the door to the potential commercialization of medication and treatments for psychedelic therapy is somewhat open, some companies are slipping.

A publicly traded psychedelic therapy share

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Mindmed (one of the most famous in Toronto) is certainly one of the best known.MMED), which became the world’s first listed psychedelic pharmaceutical company earlier this month through a kind of Hocus-Pocus-Reverse-Merger. The company, which was founded only last year, had roughly increased $ 30 million before its debut on the Canadian NEO stock exchange, which has become the refuge of hundreds of cannabis companies. Angel investors include Canopy Growth Corp. (CGC) Co-CEO Bruce Linton and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary. You have to be really high to invest in this high-risk stock, especially after watching cannabis stocks fall back to earth.

Mindmed drug pipeline.
Credit: Mindmed

This is not to say that Mindmed is not working on legitimate science. We just like to stick to our money. The company is preparing several phase 2 clinical trials. Its main candidate is 18-MC, a non-hallucinogenic drug that is based on ibogaine, the psychedelic substance found in Iboga, a West African shrub. Mindmed, under the FDA’s supervision, is testing whether 18-MC can help reduce addiction problems, particularly those related to opioids. The company is also preparing to test LSD microdosing for ADHD in adults. The latter was probably a simple sale to Silicon Valley investors who already did Microdose mushrooms to get through the working day.

A breakthrough FDA psychedelic therapy

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The other leader of the psychedelic therapy package is Compass Pathways, based in London, which has been reported to have been raised $ 58 million from famous tech investors like Peter Thiel when he’s not trying to suck the boys’ blood to live longer. The company has developed a synthesized version of psilocybin. In 2018, the FDA awarded the company’s drug candidate, COMP360, the status of “breakthrough therapy” for the treatment of clinical depression. This speeds up the development process. For example, Compass Pathways announced in December that a phase 1 study showed the drug was well tolerated and had already started a large phase 2b study with more than 200 participants. The company also offers a therapist training program to learn how to deliver psychedelic therapy.

A biotech builder for psychedelic therapy

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Another investor with a large stake in Compass Pathways is a new German biotech company called Atai Life Sciences $ 68 million and describes itself as a “Global Biotech Company Builder” with branches in Berlin, New York and Amsterdam. In other words, the two-year startup is funding other research efforts that focus primarily on psychedelic therapies for mental health by investing in other biotech startups and joint ventures. The most recent joint venture is with an AI company for computer-aided drug discovery called Cyclica, which has just landed in the country CB Insights AI 100 list for 2020. The new company, Entheogenix Bioscienceswill use Cyclica’s AI-enabled computational biophysics platform to generate psychedelic drug candidates to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression. The platform is said to help predict side effects during the design phase, rather than after someone falls down the rabbit hole of the psyche.

Ketamine-based psychedelic therapy

Another Atai company, Perception neuroscience, is one of a growing number of drugs that are developing around a hallucinogenic party drug called Special K. Like our next two startups for psychedelic therapies.

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Field Trip, founded in Toronto in 2019, was founded $ 8.5 million in February to develop a program that combines psychotherapy with low doses of ketamine, which was originally used as an anesthetic drug in the 1960s. A WebMD author describes ketamine work “like a flash mob, temporarily taking over a certain chemical receptor.” (Read This for a detailed explanation of how ketamine affects depression.) According to Field Trip, lower doses of ketamine medication taken in a therapist-led, safe environment can “promote better mental health by disrupting thought patterns or loops that may prevent progress.”

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Little Pharma, based in London, was founded in 2015 and has slightly more than collected $ 1 million in seed and grant money. The company is trying to develop a ketamine derivative called SPL801B that works differently than Special K. Previous studies indicate a lack of dissociative and addictive side effects, but there isn’t much news about the company’s progress since 2017 when it did needed funding.

Combating opioid addiction with ibogaine

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A 10-year-old pharmaceutical company in Florida is another beneficiary of Atai Life Sciences who invests up to $ 22 million in a joint venture with DemeRX to develop ibogaine for the treatment of opioid addiction. The CEO and founder of DemeRX, researcher Deborah Mash, previously monitored one of the largest studies on ibogaine to date, in which 102 opioid-dependent and 89 cocaine-dependent subjects in St. Kitts, West India, were given a single dose of ibogaine. The drug significantly reduced opioid withdrawal symptoms within 36 hours, while reducing the severity of food cravings and depression. The positive effects continued a month later.

Drug pipeline for DemeRX
Credit: DemeRX

A second drug candidate from DemeRX, NorIbogaine, is also said to treat opioid addiction and could also be used to limit tolerance to opioid pain relievers.

Psychedelic therapy for inflammation and Alzheimer’s

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Eleusis, founded in London in 2013, was founded in 2013 $ 5.7 million in disclosed funds, including an undisclosed A series last year. The company is testing whether psychedelics can also relieve inflammation by targeting the same serotonin receptors that make you think Brooke Shields’ poster on your wall will come alive. At the end of last year, the company presented some promising preclinical results under various conditions, including eye inflammation, which can lead to retinal degeneration. Eleusis is also investigating whether microdosing LSD could help ward off Alzheimer’s disease, which is not as crazy as it sounds. Some researchers speculate that the disease could be caused by bacterial inflammation.

Conclusion

One way to think about these different psychedelic therapy solutions is to imagine that the brain’s software sometimes fails and only a hard reset or restart is required. Of course there are potential disadvantages, e.g. B. Losing your isht for up to 12 hours each while working on your mother’s problems. The industry itself is still very small and delivered to government regulators. However, there is no denying that science is solid and that people with mental health problems can really benefit from some of these therapies. Maybe someone will think about combining psychedelic therapy with virtual reality for mental health. That would be a trip.

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