Sommerville, MA Decriminalizes
Sommerville, a town of about 80,000 in Massachusetts has decriminalized psychedelics.
The City Council voted unanimously 9-0 to make enforcing laws against psychedelics a lowest priority of law enforcement. The council is also calling on the District Attorney to not prosecute people charged with psychedelic crimes.
The resolution does not allow for the commercial sale or distribution of psychedelics.
Psychedelics in the Octagon
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is reportedly looking into getting involved in psychedelics to treat the brain injuries caused by their product.
Backstory: The repeated head trauma of fighting, like football, can lead to PTSD and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The UFC is involved in finding solutions to the trauma, the organization recently donated another $1 million to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health for a study of professional athlete’s brains.
The Psychedelic Option
- UFC Boss Dana White’s interest in psychedelics was sparked by a segment on HBO’s “Real Sports.”
- He directed his VP of Performance and Health to begin conversations with the Johns Hopkins psychedelic center to explore a UFC partnership.
- Former UFC fighter Ian McCall has already independently participated in a Johns Hopkins study, and works with other athletes to access psilocybin treatment.
Big Picture: The UFC has very deep pockets, it was valued at $4 bn when it was sold in 2016. The long term head injuries the sport causes its athletes poses an existential threat to its long term survival. If a treatment appears to be effective expect the UFC, along with the NFL, to pour money into it.
Tryp Adds Orphan Drug Expert To Board
Tryp Therapeutics (CSE:TRYP) is strengthening its team with the addition of biotech veteran and Orphan Drug expert Gregory M. Mckee to its board of directors.
What’s an Orphan Drug?
Orphan Drug status is granted to pharmaceutical candidates that treat conditions with patient populations so small it is not profitable to develop the drug without government assistance.
Mckee has 20+ years of biotech experience, across the industry and across the world.
- He is the founder of Torrent Ventures an early stage digital health and medical technology venture fund.
- He is the former CEO of CONNECT, the largest Southern California start-up accelerator creating and scaling innovative life sciences and technology companies.
- McKee was the CEO of Nventa Biopharmaceuticals, a publicly traded company that merged with Akela Pharma, and he held senior roles at Genzyme Corporation which merged with Sanofi in a $22 billion deal.
Why It Matters: McKee’s focus at Genzyme and his area of expertise is in orphan drug development. Orphan Drugs are a major focus of Tryp’s through the development of TRP-1001 to treat soft tissue sarcoma, a condition the company believes should qualify for Orphan Drug status.
In Other People News….Chuck Rifici, the co-founder of cannabis companies Canopy Growth Corp (TSE: WEED) and Auxly (CSE:XLY) is joining Novamind’s (CSE:NM) board. Minerco (OTC PINK: MINE) appoints Paul Hoonjan as its new President.
A Non-Binding LOI To Make An Investment
Mind Cure (CSE:MCUR) has announced the signing of a non-binding LOI to invest in ATMA Journey Centres, a Calgary based private healthcare clinic with a focus on psychedelic assisted therapy.
RoP is covering what appears to be an inconsequential LOI for a few reasons…
Legal Commercial Clinic
ATMA is the first commercial clinic in Canada to announce providing psychedelic assisted therapy legally to a patient who has received legal clearance from the government.
Mind Cure’s investment implies that ATMA’s pole position is a competitive advantage as more patients are approved for treatment, or a broader framework is brought into place.
For Profit or Non- Profit?
The three founders of ATMA are also the three founders of the SYNTAC Institute, a non profit organization that helped the first patient treated at ATMA to receive approval from Health Canada.
This structure begs the question:
- Why create a seperate non-profit organization? There is no requirement to be a non-profit to petition the government for Section 56 (1) exemptions.
- Does ATMA have a bigger plan to use exemptions to funnel patients towards their for-profit clinic?
Zoom Out: The deal between Mind Cure and ATMA is far from done, and the deal size is relatively small. But it will be interesting to see if the psychedelic exemptions are continued to be used for profit gains.
Avoiding A Bad Trip
Entheon Biomedical Corp. (CSE:ENBI) wants to make sure you don’t have a bad trip. So much so that they’re acquiring HaluGen Life Sciences, a “biotech company in the business of developing and commercializing a pre-screening test to identify genetic markers predictive of an individual’s reaction to hallucinogenic drugs.”
HaluGen’s platform, while still under development, will use DNA samples, along with personal and familial information to inform a user’s psychedelic experience.
- The tool will help clinicians pre-screen for psychiatric disorders and predict adverse reactions to psychedelic assisted therapy.
- Once development is complete the platform will be able to return results within a few days.
Will It Work? Hard to say. But by collecting this information now, they’re building a larger and larger data set that should in theory lead to better predictive tools.
The Report Read Out
Australia’s psychedelic trials are beginning to recruit participants. Edith Cowan and Monash universities are conducting separate MDMA studies, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney is researching psilocybin.
MindMed (NEO:MMED) expands psychedelic microdosing division, adds study evaluating lsd microdosing through next-gen digital clinical markers.
Numinus Wellness (TSXV:NUMI) forges forward into psychedelic discovery research with a new piece of equipment, the Orbitrap Exploris 120 Mass Spectometer.
Cybin (NEO:CYBN) announces api synthesis of multiple tryptamine derivatives based on the first milestone achievement pursuant to the Adelia acquisition.
This Black-led psychedelic collective is combining anti-racism with ‘Sacred Plant Medicine.’
The Brookings Institute is out with an article which argues mental health innovation, including psychedelics, is important for economic recovery and upward mobility.
Hamilton Morris of Vice’s Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia speaks with Forbes about Mistakes, 5-MeO-DMT And Preserving Psychedelic Toads.
Champignon Brands (CSE:SHRM) announces new CFO and new general counsel as they try to get out from under the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) continuous disclosure review and cease trade order (CTO).
Psychedelic mushrooms grew in a man’s veins after he injected them.