Medicine is advancing fast; we are starting to utilize resources that have been right in front of us for thousands of years. Society is awakening to the benefits of cannabis. Many states have legalized medical marijuana, with the recreational usage movement also gaining momentum.
Pharmaceutical companies are now diving into the vast world of psychedelics and their myriad benefits. Now, you may be wondering what the benefits are besides getting high. I was wondering the exact same thing. We tend to succumb to the negative connotations society places on psychedelics. However, Global Go’s recent trio of panels about investing in psychedelics opened my eyes to the many medical benefits of their usage.
Drug Developers & Manufacturers in the Psychedelic Field: Unlocking Value Through IP
The first panel of the day was moderated by Tom Zuber the managing partner of Zuber Lawler and featured Graeme McFarlane the chief commercial officer of Albert Labs, James Kuo the CEO of Tryp Therapeutics, Gregg Peterson the CEO of Bexson Biomedical and Dr. Jayashree Mitra the partner of Zuber Lawler.
Each panelist delved into the psychedelic research their respective companies are diving into.
Albert Labs is working with patients who have severe anxiety and depression. SSRIs are not always effective in meeting their patients’ needs, not to mention the negative side effects patients have to deal with. Albert Labs is working with psilocybin, better known as magic mushrooms, as a potential treatment option for these patients.
Tryp Therapeutics is also working with psilocybin but for the treatment of eating disorders and fibromyalgia. They have seen positive results in cases that are resistant to treatment. Psilocybin can help patients who have binge eating disorders. This drug also affects pain signals in the brain, positively impacting people with chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia.
Bexson Biomedical has found that ketamine can help treat chronic and acute pain. They are currently conducting animal studies with Ketamine to figure out dosage and other positive effects the drug can have. Ketamine is showing similar results to powerful opioids that are used today.
The evidence of human usage of these drugs has been present for many years, however, the FDA has not approved these drugs.
These companies are hoping their treatments will be used in homes as a controlled experience for their patients. However, investors are hesitant because there are no present patents.
The IP and litigation of ownership of IP should be similar to cannabis to help regulate usage of the drugs given to the patient. Getting a patent for a drug will be hard because once the FDA allows production for public consumption companies will begin mass producing generic versions of the drug.
Intellectual Property Issues in Psychedelics: Pitfalls and Potential
The second panel was moderated by Paul Rosen the executive director of Global Go and featured Sher Ali Butt the founder and CEO of CB Therapeutics Inc., Dr. Joseph Tucker the CEO MagicMed Industries Inc. and Penny White the CEO of NeonMind Biosciences Inc.
CB Therapeutics Inc. is a private company that is biosizing cannabinoids, psilocybin and DMT. MagicMed Industries Inc. is working to produce psilocybin for pharmaceutical uses. NeonMind Biosciences Inc. is working with psilocybin to help with the obesity problem that the world is facing.
Companies are facing issues in terms of the IP. Companies cannot tell doctors how to use and prescribe their drugs.
Penny White emphasized it does not make economical sense for companies to patent their drug. Patenting a new molecule makes sense, but once a drug enters the market, it will be consumed by generic companies, said Joseph Tucker.
These smaller companies can partner with larger pharmaceutical companies in their phase 3 trials, once they obtain enough clinical evidence to show the drug is successful. However, there can be a big difference between actual magic mushrooms and a chemically engineered version. This is apparent in the difference between full-spectrum CBD and other CBD products; the effect is not the same. Full-spectrum CBD is seen to be 30% more effective, making the synthesized versions less effective.
Bankers and Capital Markets: What is the Risk/Reward for Investment in Psychedelics?
The last panel of the day was moderated by Josh Lawler the Partner of Zuber Lawler and featured Eric Wiesblim the founder and CEO of Silo Pharma Inc., Timothy Ko the founder of Entheon Biomedical Corp., Ronan Levy the co-founder of Field Trip Health Ltd. and Richard Carleton the CEO of Canadian Securities Exchange.
Silo Pharma Inc. is looking to find helpful drugs for patients with cancer and mental health patients. Entheon Biomedical Corp. wants to assist patients with life-changing mental health issues and addiction issues. Field Trip Health Ltd. is working with psychedelics to help patients with depression.
Speaking at the panel, Richard Carleton highlighted the fact that getting these drugs off their feet is a significant investment. It will take around 10 to 15 years alone for these companies to build on their research and gain FDA approval. Time is essential to these long term investments in order to make a profit.
The companies producing these drugs are hoping to move away from a daily dosing module, as used with popular drugs such as Zoloft and Xanax, and towards a therapeutic one. Treatment can combine psychedelics with other therapies to achieve breakthroughs.
The presence of possible addiction correlated with the drugs is a bit of a roadblock within testing and investment. Timothy Ko, who works with addiction healing, stressed the importance of adequate research when it comes to possible dependence issues.
Medical usage of cannabis is now more commonplace, and benefits are well-documented. The recreational usage movement is also gaining traction. As cannabis is mild, users are unlikely to abuse it, making marijuana safe for recreational usage.
The panelists are aware that psychedelics probably won’t take the same route as cannabis in terms of recreational usage. Since the effect can be strong and there is possible potential for addiction, the companies want to emphasize to their investors that usage will not extend beyond the medicinal unless further testing proves otherwise.