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Beyond Capital: The Non-Monetary Efforts Pushing The Psychedelic Renaissance Forward

November 1, 2022
Psychedelic mushrooms

The psychedelics industry needs more than money.

In recent years, much interest has been focused on the investment potential of this nascent industry. The psychedelic renaissance offers a unique opportunity for savvy investors and large corporations. In both 2018 and 2019, around $60 million was invested in psychedelic-focused companies (Sharpe & Rivlin, 2022). In 2021, atai Life Sciences raised over $300 million USD in its Series A-D financings. The psychedelic market size is projected to reach $10.75 billion USD by 2027 (“Psychedelic Drugs”, 2021).

“What interested me is the scale and size of the market … [t]hese opportunities have been ignored ever since the 1960s.” - Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank co-host and early investor in Mindmed (Rosenbaum, 2021)

a mushroom

The importance of capital to push new industries forward cannot be overstated - clinical trials and drug discovery are expensive endeavours. Growth often outpaces profits, and so high amounts of capital are needed to push projects to completion. 

While investment is vital for this field to grow, non-monetary efforts by some psychedelic-focused organizations are also driving the movement forward. By pushing for more research, increased psilocybin access, and improved public perception, these groups are supporting the industry's development overall. 

For example, The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), works in psychedelic research to generate medical, legal, and cultural shifts in psychedelic medicine use and integration. Their recent efforts included donating over $540,000 to psychedelic initiatives in April, helping reform prison sentencing in the United States, continuing their Phase 3 MDMA clinical trials and the innovative sale of NFT’s for charity in partnership with Vine Ventures

Another organization, TheraPsil, is a non-profit which is dedicated to helping Canadians access legal psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. This year TheraPsil brought  a lawsuit against the Canadian government for an allegedly unconstitutional block of psilocybin therapy, raised funds to fight for psilocybin access and advocated for the Special Access Program in Canada. The Special Access Program is the most comprehensive program for medical psilocybin access in Canada to date. 

TheraPsil also launched Project Solace, the world's largest medical psilocybin access and data project. Project Solace aims to streamline access to medical psilocybin via the Special Access Program , while developing a substantial body of evidence, using a real-world data registry. The data registry will document clinical effectiveness, safety, and clinician and patient reported outcomes in individuals who have received medical psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy through the Special Access Program. There are many Canadians plagued by emergency and end of life distress where conventional treatments have been inadequate - this project helps to support patients navigate the SAP so they can receive potentially life-saving medical psilocybin. Project Solace is supported by several Health Canada-approved suppliers of psilocybin, including Filament Health.

"There are a limited number of Health Canada-approved psilocybin suppliers so Filament's participation greatly enhances the likelihood of patient access to much-needed drug candidates."  - Spencer Hawkswell, CEO Therapsil (Filament Health, 2022)

At Filament Health, pushing the psychedelic movement forward remains an important focus. Filament has made several non-monetary efforts to help facilitate the adoption of psychedelic substances, medicines which we believe can be life saving. 

Shortly after Health Canada’s restoration of the Special Access Program, Filament became an official licensed provider of psilocybin for the program. A few months after the program's launch, Filament’s psilocybin drug candidate was administered in one of the first patient dosings through the SAP. Filament is proud to be providing these medicines free of charge for Canadians in need across the country. Additionally, the Filament team is working directly with Canadian physicians to facilitate SAP applications by providing specialized documents which guide them through the process. Filament believes this program is a positive step towards getting life-saving, medical-grade psilocybin to Canadians in need.

In July 2022, Filament announced the first dosing in its FDA-approved clinical trial at UCSF involving psilocin and psilocybin. This trial is the first comparison study between psilocin and psilocybin. Results of the psilocin substance could improve therapeutic outcomes for patients across the world. Through its expertise, Filament has been able to standardize notoriously unstable natural compounds - the power of natural psychedelics for healing is a cause the company believes strongly in and is worth the extra processes. Additionally, natural psychedelics have a lower cost to produce and administer when compared to synthetic versions. As the industry continues to develop, this affordability will be important in order to ensure equitable access to these medicines.

"This trial will provide crucial information about the effects and mechanisms of these compounds that could allow for greatly enhanced psychedelic-assisted therapy." - Dr. Joshua Wooley, MD/PhD, UCSF

In addition to this, Filament also donated its standardized PEX010 psilocybin capsules to a clinical trial at the University of Toronto. This Phase 2 trial is looking at the safety and efficacy of low-dose psilocybin therapy for people with persistent depressive disorder. With this trial, Filament Health is now involved in research trials in three different countries.

The psychedelics industry  has the potential to shift how we treat mental health, and provide equitable and effective treatments for people in need. Continued non-monetary efforts will serve to increase access, decrease stigma, and provide necessary education about psychedelics. 

References
Filament Health. (July 28, 2022). Filament Health Announces Participation in Project Solace. Cision. https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/filament-health-announces-participation-in-project-solace-821850141.html
Psychedelic Drugs Market Size Is Projected To Reach $10.75 Billion By 2027. (April 21, 2021). Cision. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/psychedelic-drugs-market-size-is-projected-to-reach-10-75-billion-by-2027--301273405.html
Rosenbaum, E. (May 11, 2021). ‘Shark Tank’ host Kevin O’Leary: Psychedelic drugs ‘far exceed’ cannabis investment potential. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/11/kevin-oleary-psychedelic-drugs-far-exceed-cannabis-potential.html
Sharpe, J. Rivlin, A. (October 15, 2022). The Investment Surge in Psychedelics for Treatment of Mental Health Conditions. LEK. https://www.lek.com/insights/ei/investment-surge-psychedelics-treatment-mental-health-conditions
Johnston, R. (November 9, 2021). Can psychedelics and capitalism co-exist? Three things I learned at the Oakland Psychedelics Conference. Rolling Stone. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture-council/articles/psychedelics-capitalism-psychedelic-conference-1254056/