Recently, we’re seeing the resurgence of the drug in mainstream media for the first time since 1971, when the UN’s Convention on Psychotropic Substances rendered psychedelics illegal in all member countries.
In case you’ve been out of the psychedelic loop, countries all over the world are progressively passing motions to decriminalize psilocybin at such a rapid pace that some are stating we’re entering into a ‘Shroom Boom’, where widespread adoption of the psychedelic substance will follow the example of cannabis in the US and Canada.
There is an issue, however, surrounding the production of “magic mushrooms” and the extraction of psilocybin from them; that is, the compound can be wildly unpredictable, with certain doses being much more potent than others. As a response to this, Better Plant Sciences Inc. (CSE: PLNT) (OTCQB: VEGGF) majority owned subsidiary NeonMind Biosciences has partnered with Health Canada licensed psychedelic manufacturer Psygen Labs Inc. to accelerate clinical trials of psilocybin as a treatment for food cravings (ie, weight loss) and anxiety, through the usage of synthetic psilocybin.
This is likely new territory for most investors, so read on to break down the top 3 key components of this press release:
1. What is Synthetic Psilocybin?
While this one may seem self-explanatory, this is possibly the most critical takeaway from this release. The possibility of creating psilocybin outright, without the growth cycle involved, helps to improve progress within the industry substantially. Take, for example, a citrus farmer, who grows their fruits solely for the purpose of extracting Vitamin C – while they can find incremental success by continuously expanding their orchard, they are still restricted to only harvesting when their fruits are ripe. If the farmer found a way to create Vitamin C completely without the fruit, their expansion potential just became unlimited by that factor.
If you exchange the citrus for psychoactive mushrooms and the Vitamin C for psilocybin, you’ve just taken a look at Psygen Labs, the Health Canada licensed manufacturer of restricted psychedelic drugs that NeonMind has entered into an agreement with. They have found a way to skip the growing process and produce psilocybin outright so that it can be used in clinical trials and accelerate progress within the industry, while providing a substance with no variability in effectiveness.
2. What Does this Partnership Mean?
Entering into agreements with psilocybin producers typically means that you can begin testing and patenting new formulations related to the drug; however, availability of legal psilocybin has been a challenge for the industry. When looking at the partnership with Psygen, this is no longer a consideration. Essentially, this partnership means that NeonMind can continue with their research unrestricted by availability of psilocybin.
While this would be beneficial in any industry, psychedelic companies are in somewhat of a ‘patent race’ currently, where prospective leaders in the space are moving quickly to secure drug formulations and prove their effectiveness for multi-billion dollar use cases such as treatment resistance depression. As the industry seems to be on the tipping point of true mainstream scientific research, the first movers are hurriedly trying to secure intellectual property before the large pharmaceutical companies move into the space and begin researching with near limitless resources.
Put simply, NeonMind’s partnership with Psygen Labs means that they’re removing a handicap from the equation, allowing them to continue the race unhampered by production speed and availability of psilocybin.
3. Why Weight Loss?
From a purely financial standpoint, addressing and patenting mainstream clinical concerns massively increases the commercial potential of the formulations. Since time immemorial, people have been searching for a solution to food cravings and weight gain and recently, evidence has come forward that many of the issues in this realm are related to food addiction – a psychological phenomenon. Prior psilocybin research has produced encouraging evidence that the chemical helps activate serotonin receptors, something at times referred to as “mother nature’s appetite suppressant.”
“As a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. Serotonin is responsible for some of the drivers which govern eating. We are very interested in furthering studies to test various dosing regimens for NeonMind to see the effects that psilocybin may have on the serotonin receptors that regulate food cravings.” – Dr. William Panenka, lead scientific advisor to NeonMind.
In December, 2019, NeonMind filed U.S. provisional patent application in the United States for the invention relating to therapeutic administration of psilocybin to provide weight-loss benefits and potential treatment or regulation of diabetes, and regulation of blood glucose, and to reduce susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, chronic renal failure, sleep apnea, asthma and certain forms of cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults or 39 per cent of adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Grandview Research projects that the global weight-management market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3 per cent from 2019 to 2025 to reach $442.3-billion (U.S.) by 2025.
NeonMind appears to be at the forefront of a very large market opportunity, and the planned clinical trials could be the key to unlocking value for shareholders through a potentially valuable patent portfolio.
Disclaimer: NeonMind Biosciences is a subsidiary of Better Plant Sciences, which is a communications client of Edge Investments. We also own shares in the company.