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The Future of Psychedelic Therapeutics

Patrick Simpson

A recent study by Champion Health indicated that 1 in 4 employees have clinically relevant symptoms of depression. 🤯

With the exception of Esketamine, no new pharmacological treatments for depression have been brought to market in over 30 years. Yet since the 1990’s antidepressant prescriptions have risen dramatically, with 1 in 6 adults being prescribed them in the UK in any given year, predominantly SSRIs.

It is not to say SSRIs are ineffective, but their mechanism of action is not understood. Originally thought to address ‘chemical imbalances’ and low serotonin levels. A recent study by UCL concluded “that after a vast amount of research conducted over several decades, there is no convincing evidence that depression is caused by serotonin abnormalities, particularly by lower levels or reduced activity of serotonin”.

Talk therapies are effective but they also have their challenges – access, adherence, cost, stigma… So what other tools are available? We love the work that Fisher Wallace Laboratories, Inc. are doing with electrical brain stimulation and the exciting impact that is having on it’s users.

Another exciting frontier in this mental health crisis is the use of psychedelic therapies (for example Psilocybin). Not long ago at the very fringes of research and a taboo but now starting to breakthrough. The US granted it “Breakthrough Therapy” status in 2018, accelerating research. From July 2023, Australian psychiatrists will be able to prescribe Psilocybin and MDMA in certain scenarios.

The UK government debated access to Psilocybin treatments on the 18th May but remains a laggard, despite being the HQ of COMPASS Pathways (listed psilocybin manufacturer, $300M market cap.).

The listed companies in the psychedelic space have seen their share prices hammered since the end of 2021 (CMPS, MNMD, CYBN, NUMIF) but the potential remains to transform the lives of so many affected by depression as well as PTSD, anorexia nervosa, OCD etc.

We’re watching this space and trying to understand the market better to find the entrepreneurs who could win in this frontier market if and when regulation allows.

What do you all think of this novel treatment opportunity?

Sources: Champion Health | UKGov | UCL | Hubmerman


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