46.6 million American adults suffer from mental illness with only 18.6 million individuals (40%) receiving treatment. Despite treatment, many of these individuals continue to suffer from symptoms of mental illness. For example, 30% of individuals with depression, PTSD or anxiety report treatment-resistant symptoms, such as pessimistic inward-focused thinking, negative thought patterns and detrimental self-reflection. Because of this, alternative approaches for treatment-resistant mental health conditions are needed.
PAP, or Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy, is a new alternative approach for modifying brain activity to mitigate or prevent these types of symptoms. PAP uses psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD, ibogaine and MDMA to manipulate the default mode network of the brain (DMN), which governs inward-focused thinking, patterned thoughts and self-reflection. While the neuroscience behind the long-lasting effects of psychedelics is still in its infancy, early findings for behavioral health treatments are positive.
As a result, clinical research to determine the safety and efficacy of PAP for indications including depression, PTSD and anxiety continues to gain momentum, leading to the formation of new PAP ventures. Below, is an overview of the pioneers shaping the PAP market, an investment recommendation and other resources for further education.
- Compass Pathways: Currently conducting trials to test synthetic psilocybin developed for patients with treatment-resistant depression.
- ATAI Life Sciences: A platform working to develop and acquire companies that use psychedelics for treating mental health conditions.
- MindMed: MindMed is working on creating their own IP portfolio of medicines based off ibogaine and LSD to treat opioid use disorder and ADHD.
- Entheogenix Biosciences: A joint venture between Cyclica and ATAI, Entheogenix Biosciences is investigating new therapies for complex psychiatric diseases based on psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin and mescaline.
- Andrew Jones, Phd – Dr. Jones recently had his research published in the journal Metabolic Engineering titled, “In vivo production of psilocybin in E. coli.” Through metabolic engineering of E. coli, Jones and his team found they could produce psilocybin at a cost that may prove to be more cost effective than deriving psilocybin from mushrooms. This research will most likely be productized in the near future.
- Numinus: Numinus is creating a network of clinics in North America that use professionals to direct people in the use of psychedelics.
- Synthesis Retreat: Synthesis offers PAP in Amsterdam utilizing psilocybin.
- There is a large opportunity in controlling the supply of psychedelics. Creating synthetic versions of the classic psychedelics is only the beginning of this opportunity though. As the understanding of the mechanism of action behind psychedelics increases, more targeted compounds will be created.
Healthcare Investors: Hold
- While preliminary clinical research results are encouraging, most psychedelics are still years away from being fully approved by the FDA. If and when approval occurs, reimbursement for the pharmaceuticals or PAP services must be defined, delaying robust access even further.
While the PAP is still an early and emerging market, Jumpstart Foundry is interested in connecting with founders working within the space. If you are thinking of starting a company in the PAP market, please reach out to us HERE.
- Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Usona Institute
- Beckley Foundation