Psychedelic Sector News
COMPASS Pathways Acquires Novel Psychedelics and Prodrugs IP Portfolio
Earlier this week, COMPASS Pathways announced that it has acquired an IP portfolio that seeks to cover a “variety of psychedelic and empathogenic substances, some of which are prodrugs.”
The company says that the IP was developed with Matthias Grill PhD, via his company MiHKAL (presumably meaning Molecules I Have Known and Loved, in a nod to Shulgin’s seminal publications), which is based in Basel, Switzerland: a short distance from the University of Basel where MindMed collaborator Dr. Matthias Liechti’s lab is located.
It’s important to note that, according to the press release, the portfolio contains patent applications, as opposed to allowed or granted patents.
This news comes just a week after CaaMTech announced a $22m Series A financing. The U.S. company is also seeking to generate a robust patent portfolio covering new tryptamines and formulations of psychedelics.
Wesana Commits $1.5m to Exploring Viability of MAPS’ MDMA-Assisted Therapy to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
Chicago-based Wesana Health has announced that it’s committing to fund an initial $1.5m to assess the viability of using MAPS’ MDMA-assisted therapy protocol to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI). It appears the funds will primarily be used to scope the size of the TBI market, and generate a partnership agreement for a potential joint venture between Wesana and MAPS Public Benefit Corp (PBC).
It is not clear why the pair believe that MDMA-assisted therapy may be effective in the treatment of TBI, but MAPS Exec. Director Rick Doblin said the following:
“Data collected from MAPS-sponsored Phase 3 clinical trials suggests that MDMA-assisted therapy appears promising in the treatment of TBI. Consistent with our mission, we seek to investigate treatments for affected patients who can be helped by MDMA – this is an important step in that direction.”
There does appear to be some evidence, in animal studies, that the administration of MDMA one hour prior to a minimal traumatic brain injury (mTBI) can have neuroprotective properties (see Edut et al., 2011 and Edut et al., 2014). But, dosing NHL players, for example, an hour prior to their appearance on the ice is neither practical, nor the suggestion of either party in this proposed collaboration. Rather, Wesana and MAPS will seek to understand whether MDMA-assisted therapy can help treat extant TBI.
The underlying thesis may be related to MDMA’s apparent ability to induce neuroplasticity (see Ly et al., 2018), which is understood to be at least part of “the basis of recovery” for the CNS following injury. It may also be related to the modulation of neuroinflammation that has been observed with other psychedelics, such as DMT.
Prior to this announcement, Wesana’s focus had (at least publicly) been on a psilocybin-based regimen, and on the acquisition of a network of mental health clinics that offered ketamine therapy among other services.
This announcement can also be situated among a broader shift toward an increasing interest in psychedelics as potential therapeutics for brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases, as covered in a new publication by Kozlowska et al..
- atai increases loan in principal by $6m to support IntelGenx’s graduation to TSX;
- Awakn reports Q2 2021 financial results;
- Clerkenwell Health: former Compass Pathways interim clinical sciences director joins as CMO;
- Mindcure joins Digital Therapeutics Alliance;
- Mindset Pharma claims further validation of lead candidate MSP-1014;
- Nova Mentis applies for Orphan Drug Designation from FDA for psilocybin as Fragile X Syndrome treatment;
- Perception Neuroscience initiates Phase 2a study of r-ketamine for TRD;
- PharmaTher provides pipeline updates and anticipated milestones.
Read more on our News page.
Nine Perfect Strangers Stokes Interest in Psychedelic Therapies
Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers series has continued to drive interest into psychedelic therapies, though experts are keen to stress the inaccuracies in the show’s portrayal of the modality.
Two articles sought to clarify the portrayals, with Business Insider tackling 12 elements of psychedelics retreats that the show got right and wrong, and Mic publishing a more critical piece in which the title describes the show’s portrait of psychedelic wellness retreats as “deranged.”
Writing in the LA Times, Qualey (who also authored the Mic piece) is keen to point out that the show’s director, Jonathan Levine, is an ardent psychedelic therapy proponent. Levine told Qualey psychedelic therapy “is one of my top five options for the salvation of humanity.”
What do you think of Nine Perfect Strangers thus far? Is any publicity [for psychedelic therapy] good publicity?
Chacruna: How I Joined the Secret SSRI Circles of 1985
A satirical piece by Andrew Penn, published on Chacruna, puts forward a fictitious story of joining a “secret SSRI circle” in 1985.
At the foot of the fictional piece, Penn writes:
“The story is, of course, fictional. I don’t think there were clandestine gatherings of antidepressant medicine circles in the 80s or fluoxetine being snuck out of the Eli Lilly laboratories. But, if SSRIs were as hyped as psychedelics are now, perhaps there would have been. I can’t remember a time when a treatment was so anticipated as psychedelics are at this moment. What fascinates me is that this never-before-seen excitement is for drugs in clinical trials that are still at least 2–5 years away from legal availability.”
Other articles worth reading:
- Wired (video): Michael Pollan Answers Psychedelics Questions From Twitter
- Scientific American: A Renaissance for Psychedelics Could Fill a Long-Standing Treatment Gap for Psychiatric Disorders [note: both authors of this piece are affiliated with COMPASS Pathways]
- The Guardian: Rachel Yehuda and Robin Carhart-Harris appear on Today in Focus podcast titled Ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms: are these drugs the future of therapy?
- Forbes: Survey: U.S. College Students Drank Less, Used More Marijuana And Psychedelics During Covid-19
- AJMC: Could Psychedelics Ease Mental Health Toll From COVID-19, Other Crises?
- Berkeley Journalism: Tim Ferriss Gift Creates Journalism Fellowships at Berkeley’s new Center for Science of Psychedelics
- University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy: Equity in Psychedelic Therapies
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