Delix Therapeutics, a Boston-based startup just hit the jackpot on their initial funding round. They raised $70M to continue their research on removing the “tripping” effects from psychedelic. All with the end goal of using them to rewire the human brain in a safer manner that “classical psychedelics”.
- Delix has over 1,000 novel compounds patented. These compounds help the brain’s ability to adapt to new situations.
- Preclinical work has shown that one of these compounds has the potential to match or exceed the properties of ketamine.
- They are unlike other treatments currently available by removing the risks associated with trips. Removing the tripping aspect of psychedelics should increase their viability for mental health treatments, especially when looking at the active duration of the drugs in question.
The round was led by Artis Ventures and RA Capital Management. Other investors include Apeiron Investment Group, the family office of Christian Angermayer, a prominent investor in psychedelics and mental health care. The plan is to use the funding to hire more employees and submit more applications to the FDA for permission to investigate their drug candidates
Delix is the next in a long line of companies that are honing in on psychedelic drugs as mental health therapy supplements. And they are focused on drugs that help promote the brain’s neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to adapt). With one in five people suffering from mental illness, someone needs to produce a drug that can be taken at home, without supervision.
The University of Kent has identified an increase in social and bonding behaviors among people who regularly attend raves. Among other things, this could potentially explain why the culture of raving has endured for so long.
The study was undertaken by Dr. Martha Newson, a cognitive anthropologist. She created a novel model of ritual engagement to measure the increase in prosocial behavior that ravers go through.
- The model assesses altered states of consciousness that are common in group rituals, also known as the 4D’s (Dance, Drums, Sleep Deprivation, and Drugs).
- Dr. Newson sent out an online survey to rave attendees to get their retrospective viewpoints on it, whether they engaged in the 4D’s and whether they believed it helped them with personal transformation.
The research found that out of the respondents, most associated social bonding with drugs and dancing. It is common knowledge that feeling connected to a group has therapeutic benefits. Better understanding of this concept could play a key role in the development of how psychedelic therapy is constructed.
Dr. Newson believes that ‘Undoing the negative connotations associated with rave culture is a big challenge, but this research shows there are indeed social and behavioral benefits that ravers gain from the experience. Our need to connect meaningfully with others will always prevail – whether it’s singing in choir at church or stomping to electronic music in a dis-used warehouse”.
Social bonding is incredibly important for mental health. If psychedelic drugs can help promote social connection as well as rewire the brain, rave culture could end up leading to one of the most important mental health revelations in history.
One of the most prolific drugs at the forefront of the psychedelic medicine movement is ketamine. Ketamine is a FDA-approved anesthetic drug. It is an unavoidable fact that it is doing more work for the industry right now than drugs like psilocybin and MDMA. But can we classify it as a psychedelic?
Clinics offering ketamine treatment have been promoting it as “the only legal psychedelic”. But voices within academia and research are raising doubts about its reported effects.
- Does ketamine’s therapeutic action depend on its ability to alter a patient’s mind?
- What are the consequences of mislabelling it when it comes to uninformed patients?
- Should it even be referred to as a psychedelic at all?
What exactly is ketamine
Ketamine was first synthesized in the 1950’s, and has been used predominantly as an anesthetic. Recently however, it has gained popularity for its fast-acting antidepressant abilities.
- Because it has FDA approval and legal status, it has been able to be used by medical providers.
- As other “classic psychedelics” remain scheduled substances, ketamine has offered a fast track for mental health treatments and therapies. There are dozens of clinics in the US alone that are offering legal ketamine treatment.
Ketamine’s efficacy in the treatment of depression cannot be denied. But no one can seem to agree on whether or not these effects come from the drug’s biological function. Or from its ability to induce altered states of mind (like other psychedelics).
Does it even matter?
The argument is pure semantics, much like beer or coffee preference. The idea of psychedelic medicine encompasses a number of pharmacological and chemical substances. When it comes down to it, the ability to call ketamine a psychedelic is predominantly beneficial when trying to attract new clients and revenue. It is essentially the Instagram influencer of psychedelics, bringing attention to the industry.
It seems that no group of experts can roundly agree on how to classify psychedelics as a whole, let alone whether ketamine belongs in the category. Which is an interesting concept, if these drugs are broken down further, does it offer a quicker path to market for some of them? Sonoros toad venom trips only last approximately an hour, while mescaline can last over a day, what would it mean for their approval if they were classified based on effect time?
All this is to say that simply, if the psychedelic medicine industry wants to advance. It is not going to be entirely on the back of the research and trials being conducted. It just shows how junior the industry is, and because it is such a diversified and science heavy industry, it appears as though we will be stuck in this industry phase for a while, until more clarity is reached.
Digital health therapeutics are going to play a huge role in the future of medicine. Particularly in the advancement of psychedelic medicine. Companies are realizing that this confluence of health and technology is becoming more and more important. Some companies are positioning themselves as leaders in the digital therapeutics space, providing a much needed boost for the industry. So lets take a look at what some of the market leaders in digital therapeutics are up to.
Entheo is pursuing the creation of a wellness technology marketplace. Their goal is to address accessibility of psychedelic therapy using digital experiences. Entheo has developed tools for use in psychedelic therapy for therapists and patients.
Their featured technology is SoundSelf, which uses sound and visuals to induce a psychedelic like state in patients. Through singing, chanting toning, and visuals. It can reportedly bring patients into a state of unitive consciousness within 10 minutes. SoundSelf could be used to prepare patients for real psychedelic therapy, by providing them with a taste of what the overall experience is going to be.
Mindcure (OTC:MCURF) is focused on providing data-driven therapeutic support. In order to optimize therapeutic outcomes. Mindcure has developed iSTRYM, an innovative application that can optimize the healing journey, it is used before, during and after therapy sessions. Incorporating data analysis, dashboards, and mindfulness practices to give the patients a more complete experience.
MindMed (NASDAQ: MNMD) is a market leaders and investor favorites in the psychedelic industry. Using AI to optimize clinical research and patient monitoring. They also recently partnered with BioXcel to develop a system to identify and prevent agitation episodes.
Digital Therapeutics and their future role
Getting treatment to people at scale is going to be a tall order. It will require therapists, therapeutic settings and experimental treatment plans. Integrated technologies will be critical in reducing costs and time investment to develop new models.
Cannabis is nearly legalized across North America, and medicinal psychedelics seem to be following close behind. And in conjunction with this, new, ancillary and support companies are popping up all over the place. One of these new offerings are companies developing DNA kits that seek to give customers a better understanding of how certain drugs will interact with them.
In the cannabis world, Endocanna has been selling testing kits to help customers understand how their genetics may affect their experience, and has plans to develop one for psychotropic drugs in the near future.
Earlier this year, Entheon Biomedical Corp. launched an at-home test kit across North America. The testing kit is can deliver a genetic profile that can be used to better understand potential sensitivities to psychedelics and mental health risk factors that may be affected by psychedelic use.
DNA test kits provide useful insights for curious consumers. But in the age of tracking and healthy paranoia, it is reasonable that some people may not want to make their genetic information public.
In response to this mindset, companies have begun producing AI software that can help consumers map out how drugs may affect them. Companies like StrainBrain use machine learning and millions of data points to match users with ideal cannabis strains based on taste, effects and potency.
Could something like this be developed for psychedelics?
Bad trips and psychedelics go somewhat hand in hand. Identifying particular genetic predispositions and predilections around psychedelics could mean a big step forward for patient care. There are a plethora of pathways that patients are able to pursue. So maximizing preparatory is necessary work to get the best possible patient results. It is all these bit pieces, these less thought of ancillary and complementary ideas will end up being crucial for wide scale adoption of psychedelic medicine.
If a patient can walk into a clinic. Take a DNA or AI oriented test,. And better understand what they are about to experience. It can take care of a lot of the “unknown unknowns”. Establishing a more safe and secure environment for patients to experience new therapeutics is the end goal.
Psychedelics have been shown to help with a myriad of mental health issues, from AUD to depression, more and more research is coming out seemingly every week. The use of psychedelics is associated with lower levels of stress symptoms and internalized shame in adults who suffered maltreatment in childhood.
Tryp Therapeutics is pursuing chronic pain and other indications that extend beyond mental health with a total estimated annual sales potential of more than $12 billion. They have submitted an investigational new drug (IND) application for its Phase 2a clinical trial in overeating disorders, and plans to file an IND for a Phase 2a clinical trial targeting fibromyalgia. Tryp is partnering with the University of Florida on Phase 2a trial for overeating disorders and with the University of Michigan for a fibromyalgia clinical trial.
Mind Cure Health Inc. (CSE: MCUR) (OTCQB: MCURF) (FRA: 6MH) (“MINDCURE” or the “Company”), a leader in advanced proprietary technology and research in psychedelics, announced today it has been included in the new AdvisorShares Psychedelics ETF, trading on the NYSE Arca under the ticker symbol “PSIL” (the “ETF”).
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