This New York-based pharmaceutical start-up wants to turn LSD into an FDA-approved drug for anxiety disorders
Mind Medicine Inc., a New York-based psychedelic drug development company with Shark aquarium Star Kevin O’Leary and Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie as investors have acquired the exclusive rights to eight clinical trials that explore the medicinal properties of the potent hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). One of the studies is an ongoing phase 2, placebo-controlled trial of LSD for anxiety disorder treatment.
The agreement gives Mind Medicine an exclusive 10-year collaboration with the laboratory of Professor Dr Matthias Liechtenstein, one of the world leaders in psychedelic pharmacology and clinical research at the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland. Mind Medicine will also obtain exclusive worldwide rights to data, compounds and patent rights associated with research into LSD and other psychedelic compounds.
Mind Medicine co-founder JR Rahn, a 32-year-old former Uber employee, says his company’s mission is simple: “We will develop these drugs as FDA approved drugs. We will focus on data and clinical trials and develop the intellectual property that will help us create legal drugs at the federal level, ”he said. “We have to get the average person to realize that these are not bad drugs – they can be used as drugs and be successful in treating unmet medical needs.”
Rahn says Dr. Liechtenstein will also help the company prepare for a microdosing study of LSD as a potential treatment for attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. “Micro-dosing” is a term that refers to the practice of taking small, non-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic drugs. It’s downright trend in Silicon Valley as people look for ways to be more creative, manage stress, and cure anxiety and other illnesses for themselves.
“Over the past decade, we have amassed the largest collection of clinical trials around LSD; we have been studying the pharmacology and potential medical uses of LSD and other psychedelics for many years in the laboratory, in patients and in healthy volunteers, ”Dr. Liechtenstein said in a statement.
If the thought of taking acid to treat anxiety gives you, well, anxiety, researchers have found that the drug can be used to treat anxiety. reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder in humans. LSD was discovered in 1943 by Sandoz chemist Albert Hofmann. A few years later and until 1966, Sandoz supplied LSD to psychiatrists and researchers to study its effects and potential as a treatment for anxiety associated with terminal cancer, alcoholism, opioid use disorders and depression in conjunction with therapy. In 1968, after LSD became synonymous with the Counter-Culture Revolution, it was banned by the US government, Sandoz stopped manufacturing the substance, and entered the black market.
Mind Medicine is one of many companies trying to reuse hallucinogenic molecules as the next successful drug. Companies like Compass Pathways, supported by billionaire Peter Thiel, is conducting an FDA-approved clinical trial of psilocybin (the hallucinogenic chemical in “magic mushrooms”) to treat depression. ATAI Life Sciences, based in Germany and backed by former billionaire Michael Novogratz, invests and acquires companies like DemeRX, which studies hallucinogenic root iboga and how it might help treat addiction.
Mind Medicine is also exploring an ibogaine derivative to treat opioid addiction. Dr Stanley Glick, who invented 18-MC, a form of ibogaine without its intense hallucinatory effects, joined Mind Medicine last year and is preparing the company’s Phase 2 study targeting opioid withdrawal and drugs. opioid use disorders. Ibogaine has a long history in West Africa, where people have used it for ritual passages for hundreds of years.
Over the past year, Mind Medicine has raised over $ 30 million from investors, including ABC ‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin O’Leary and Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie before d ” go public on Canada’s NEO stock exchange through a reverse takeover in early March. It is also traded over-the-counter in the United States.
His market cap may only be $ 155 million and his shares are trading around 50 cents, but Rahn says the potential reward for a company like his could be to take over a multibillion-dollar market. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults, or about 18% of the population, according to the American Association for Anxiety and Depression.
O’Leary says he was skeptical when he was first approached about investing. He says he’s never used recreational drugs and is against anything illegal, but his mind changed after realizing the company will focus on the FDA’s drug development path. (O’Leary says he didn’t invest until after Rahn shook his hand and promised the company wouldn’t sue the entertainment market.)
“Every once in a while you hear a game-changing idea. There haven’t been any new drugs for depression, alcoholism, ADHD or any other drug for 35 to 40 years, says O’Leary. “It is a medicinal activity with a huge and positive result for the human race if it works.”
Rahn knows his company has an uphill battle that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to get the FDA to approve LSD and other psychedelic drugs. He also realizes that he also has a cultural battle to wage to convince people that LSD, which has long been used as a recreational drug, is a serious pharmaceutical drug.
Mind Medicine is not a “Timothy Leary” -esque company, he says, referring to former Harvard psychologist who studied psychedelic drugs, was eventually fired and became a leader of the counter-culture movement. “It’s not the 1960s again. I don’t want anything to do with those kinds of people who want to decriminalize psychedelics,” he says. “You don’t have to be a revolutionary [to bring these drugs to market]. You just need to show up to work every day, do some rigorous science, take a pragmatic approach and we’ll make it happen.