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New York, NY – June 4, 2020 – After decades of having a bad rep, psychedelics are making their way back into the medical world and are being touted for their ability to treat various mental illnesses. For years, Big Pharma companies Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Takeda Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE:TAK), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE:TEVA) and AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) have had a stronghold on the antidepressant and anxiety medication market. However, the continued abuse of prescription drugs like Xanax has created an even bigger problem with addiction and it’s only getting worse during the global pandemic. Lockdown stress is turning more and more consumers to antidepressants and causing concern among doctors, creating a growing need for companies like Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (NEO:MMED) (OTCQB:MMEDF) and its lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) treatment for anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. An estimated 40 million American adults or 18.% of the U.S. population have anxiety disorders…
Prescriptions for anti-anxiety meds went up 10.2% in the US to 9.7 million in March 2020, according to health-research firm IQVIA. Meanwhile, antidepressant prescriptions increased by 9.2% to 29.7 million in March 2020 compared to the previous year. The problem is that people can develop a tolerance quickly, sometimes in as little as two weeks. These medications can also be difficult to stop and often come with withdrawal symptoms like spurts of anxiety, tremors and even seizures.
The pandemic-fueled demand for popular antidepressants like Pfizer’s Zoloft and Eli Lilly’s Prozac has created a supply shortage, as drugmakers struggle to keep up. Add to that the addiction risk that comes with these pharmaceuticals and the side effects that come with medications like Takeda Pharmaceutical’s (NYSE:TAK) Trintellix (vortioxetine) antidepressant and it’s evident why alternatives are needed.
Takeda Pharmaceutical’s antidepressant Trintellix comes with a warning for suicidal thoughts and actions, as does Zoloft and Xanax. These prescription medications also come equipped with a laundry list of side effects including dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting and insomnia, among others.
Psychedelics Move Into Mainstream Medicine
Before Richard Nixon waged his war on drugs in 1970, LSD and other psychedelics were being researched extensively for their potential to treat mental illness, alcoholism, and pain relief. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the use of psychedelics in psychiatric research and practices. In fact, the FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to a handful of companies developing treatments that are aimed at combating major depression disorder (MDD).
Although Johnson & Johnson arguably kickstarted psychedelic medicines’ move into mainstream medicine when its Ketamine-like drug treatment for severe depression was handed FDA approval, Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (NEO:MMED) (OTCQB:MMEDF) has continued to make headway with its novel psychedelic drug treatments.
Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (MMED.AQN) (MMEDF.QB) just launched Project Lucy, a commercial drug development program for the treatment of anxiety disorders and plans to initiate a Phase 2b human trial that will focus on experiential doses of LSD administered by a therapist. The company has also established a task force to prepare a briefing package for a potential Investigational New Drug (IND) with the FDA.
Prior to the launch of Project Lucy, Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (MMED.AQN) (MMEDF.QB) became the only pure-play publicly-traded North American psychedelics company to conduct Phase 2 trials on a psychedelic compound. The company entered into clinical trial agreement with Maastricht University to conduct a Phase 2a clinical trial for LSD in adult patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which are expected to begin by the end of this year.
While companies like MindMed stake their claim on the market, some Big Pharma companies are taking the “if you can’t beat em, join em” approach and launching psychedelic drug studies of their own. Allergan Plc, which was acquired by AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) last month, tried to advance its ketamine-derived drug rapastinel as an adjunctive treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in 2019. However, the company abandoned its efforts after three acute pivotal studies failed to meet its primary endpoint. Since rapastinel was discontinued, Allergan has been working on a new treatment for depression and bi-polar disorder with its drug VRAYLAR, which has already been approved by the FDA for testing. Big Pharma will undoubtedly be on the search for innovative companies and clinical trials for other psychedelics.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE:TEVA) has also made a move for the alternative medicine market via a strategic distribution agreement with Canndoc, a subsidiary of InterCure. However, it’s unclear if the Israel-based pharma giant will make a move into the psychedelic space.
Even former Chief Scientific Officer of Neuroscience of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) Michael Ehlers has joined the psychedelic research movement by joining the advisory board of a psychedelic clinics company Field Trip.
“Therapeutic psychedelics are some of the most exciting new approaches being investigated to fight the burgeoning global mental health crisis happening right now,” Ehlers said. “It is critical that we make smart investments, develop the research rigorously, and advance this industry in a thoughtful way.”
Investor Interest in Psychedelic Treatments Continues to Rise
Although Big Pharma giants have had a stronghold of the antidepressant and anxiety medicine sector, growing concerns over the highly addictive nature of Prozac and Pfizer’s Xanax and Zoloft may signal an overall shift in sentiment towards finding alternatives to treat anxiety and depression.
MindMed may have an alternative as part of its new Project Lucy.
Investor interest in alternative psychedelic medicine is on the rise, with several high-profile investors and celebrities endorsing the psychedelic medicine market, either by joining strategic advisory boards or making sizable investments. In fact, there is so much interest in psychedelics medicine that some analysts see the industry bringing in $5 billion annually.
Prior to its market debut in 2019, Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (MMED.AQN) (MMEDF.QB) received sizable investments from Shark Tank host and celebrity investor Kevin O’Leary and former Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton, and CEO and Founder of Bail Capital James Bailey during a previous financing round.
Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (MMED.AQN) (MMEDF.QB) raised $24.4 million ahead of its IPO and just recently completed a financing for $13.2 million to fund its collaboration with University Hospital Basel’s Liechti Lab.
To learn more about Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (NEO:MMED) (OTCQB:MMEDF), click here.
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