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For psilocybin, the hits keep coming

As we’ve spoken about in previous blog posts, the psychedelics industry has been rapidly expanding to become a key component in the treatment of a host of mental illnesses. With multiple parties progressing promising research studies, industry players going public, and regulations across the world relaxing for the industry, the future is looking brighter by the day. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the most meaningful psychedelics news items we’ve seen recently.

US election results
A number of ballot measures delivered swift victories for the space in the United States earlier this month. In Oregon[1], Measure 109 was passed, making the state the first in the country to completely legalize psilocybin. While many cities, including Denver, have moved to decriminalize, Measure 109 marks the first statewide decision to permit the use of psychedelic mushrooms within a therapeutic setting. Washington, D.C.[2] also moved to downgrade psilocybin to the lowest priority for prosecutions.

Successful financings and exchange listings
Zeifmans audit client Cybin Inc., a biotech and life sciences company focusing on psychedelic therapies, completed the largest public offering yet for a psilocybin company when its shares debuted[3] on the NEO exchange on November 10th. Currently in Phase 2 of a clinical trial regarding the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Cybin will continue the study in Jamaica with the University of West Indies.

This news follows the success of Compass Pathways[4], the first psychedelics company to go public on a large U.S. stock exchange. Compass announced an upsized pricing for its IPO one day before its September 18th launch, and in its first day of trading shares surged 70.6%, bringing its market capitalization to approximately $1 billion.

Results in treating Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
A recent study[5] from Johns Hopkins has illustrated the impressive efficacy of psilocybin in treating MDD. The study notes that while traditional pharmaceutical treatments for the disorder are widely available, approximately 30% to 50% of patients do not fully respond, and 10% to 30% are treatment-resistant. Thus, average effects of traditional pharmaceuticals are only “modestly larger than the effects of placebo”4.

By contrast, psilocybin has lower addiction liability and isn’t associated with long-term neurological, perceptual, or cognitive dysfunction. Further, following psilocybin treatment in the study, 71% of participants had a clinically significant response to the treatment, with 54% meeting the criteria for remission. It’s an absolutely massive finding, and one that the psychedelics industry isn’t taking lightly.

Treatment for end-of-life distress
Canadian organization Therapsil has been advocating for the rights of patients to use psilocybin in treating the depression, anxiety, and end-of-life distress associated with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. The non-profit coalition supports these patients by assisting them in exercising their charter rights to compassionate psilocybin treatment via an application for exemption of section 56(1) of the Controlled Substances and Drug Act. These patients are then connected with a healthcare professional who can facilitate the treatment.

In August of 2020, Therapsil assisted 4 patients in having their personal applications for treatment approved. These individuals were the first in Canada since psilocybin was made illegal in 1974[6]. Earlier this month, TheraPsil was also successful in securing exemption for the first non-palliative Canadian to receive psilocybin treatment for unresolved trauma.

Looking ahead
As the Canadian psychedelics industry edges ever closer to more mainstream acceptance, the Zeifmans team will be watching closely. Our extensive experience working with public and private Canadian cannabis companies since legalization, as well as our current public and private psychedelics company clients, has provided us with a wealth of insight with which to help our clients succeed.

To learn more about our psychedelics industry expertise, check out our podcast, “Micro-dosing with Zeifmans”. In the 8-part series, we spoke with key players about the future of the industry, potential pitfalls, and the path to profitability.

For more information on how Zeifmans can support your psychedelics venture, reach out to our team today.

[1] Oregon Live, “Oregon becomes first state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms”, https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2020/11/oregon-becomes-first-state-to-legalize-psychedelic-mushrooms.html

[2] Vanity Fair, “Inside psilocybin’s big week, from a pioneering depression study

[3] Cybin, “Cybin goes public on NEO exchange”, https://www.cybin.com/cybin-goes-public-on-neo-exchange/

[4] Investors.com, “First psychedelic drug stock hits $1 billion in debut after upsized IPO”, https://www.investors.com/news/compass-pathways-sees-544-million-valuation-first-psychedelic-drugs-ipo/

[5] JAMA Network, “Effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy on Major Depressive Disorder”, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2772630?resultClick=1

[6] Therapsil, “About Therapsil”, https://therapsil.ca/about/

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