This week in psychedelic business news: Nova Mentis makes progress on autism; atai donates to MAPS; Cathie Wood's ARK Invest eyes more psychedelic stocks.
Nova Mentis Study Confirms Effectiveness of Treating Autism with Psilocybin Microdose
Psychedelic Spotlight has previously reported that Canadian biotechnology company Nova Mentis (CSE: NOVA) (FSE: HN3Q) (OTCQB: NMLSF) was developing a propriety psilocybin drug to treat patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). This week we kick off our psychedelic business news roundup with a very promising update from the company, which has successfully completed an oral microdose psilocybin preclinical study at Roma Tre University in Rome, Italy. The results exceeded all expectations with the findings that a very low dose of the proprietary psilocybin formula significantly modulated behavioral and cognitive defects, such as recognition memory, in a genetic model of fragile X syndrome — the most common form of inherited intellectual disability and the most frequent monogenic cause of ASD.
“I am elated to be able to report to the medical community that at long last we may have opened the door to treatment of ASD, an unmet medical need, that has a devastating impact on the patient, family and society,” says Marvin S. Hausman MD, Chairman of NOVA's Scientific Advisory Board. “The rat model that we used mimics key autistic-like features in humans and the study results strongly supports an important role for microdose therapy of FXS.”
Mind Cure Undergoing Strategic Review
Mind Cure Health Inc. (CSE: MCUR) (OTCQX: MCURF) (FRA: 6MH) Board of Directors have formed a special committee of independent directors to initiate a review process to explore, review and evaluate a broad range of strategic alternatives. What does it mean for the company? According to Board Chair Philip Tapley, “The Board continues to support the company's current strategic priorities. As we recently reported, the company is in a strong financial position with cash and equivalents of $13.4M and a cash runway of a minimum 12 months as at November 30, 2021. However, the Board believes that given the current state of capital markets and the evolving landscape for our industry, a broad review of strategic alternatives is entirely appropriate and in the best interest of the company.”
As Psychedelic Spotlight previously reported, Mind Cure committed to the “Desire Project” last fall, investigating if female hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) can be treated with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. The Vancouver-based company is also in the business of synthesizing Ibogaine — a psychoactive substance traditionally extracted from the West African iboga shrub — to support research for the atypical psychedelic substance that shows potential as an effective medicine for various indications.
MAPS Accepts $500K Donation From atai Life Sciences
atai Impact, the philanthropic program of atai Life Sciences, has donated $500,000 to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies (MAPS) — a demonstration of synergy between a leading psychedelic medicine company and an organization with the goal of advancing mental health treatment. This donation aims to give multi-year support of MAPS’ ongoing initiatives, including its Health Equity Program, which aims to optimize access and healing through the development of a diverse network of therapy providers reflecting the diverse experiences of those who experience trauma and mental health conditions.
“MAPS has been the driving force of the psychedelic renaissance over the last 35 years, promoting healing and well-being through education and research into psychedelics and their potential to revolutionize mental health for those in need. Their work has been an incredible source of inspiration and motivation to all of us at atai, and we’re pleased to work alongside them,” says Florian Brand, CEO and Co- Founder of atai Life Sciences.
Rick Doblin, the Founder and Executive Director of MAPS, adds, “The sheer scale of the global mental health crisis calls for a large-scale response from nonprofit, public benefit, and for-profit organizations working together to meet the collective need. With this gift, atai Impact is demonstrating their commitment to our shared values of healing and health equity.”
Cybin Partners with The Chopra Foundation to Bring Awareness to the Benefits of Psychedelic-Based Therapies
Psychedelic Spotlight also reported this week that Cybin, a leading next-generation medicine company working with multiple psychedelic compounds, has partnered with The Chopra Foundation, founded by alternative medicine advocate and bestselling author Dr. Deepak Chopra. They'll partner on the NeverAlone Initiative to spread educational awareness for the positive benefits of psychedelic medicine to the public as well as policymakers and scientists. Cybin CEO Doug Drysdale made the announcement during our very own Psychedelic CEO Roundtable discussion this past Tuesday, explaining that he believes “barriers to progress [are] the misinformation and stigmatization of psychedelics.”
“It surprises me when I talk to people outside of the sector, how little they know and what their perceptions are,” Drysdale said. “I was recently speaking with a scientist that gave advice to regulators. And his first reaction to psychedelics was that they are addictive, and cause suicidal ideation. And it, frankly, scared me a little bit to think that someone in that position without influence, had such misinformation.”
Cathie Woods ARK Invest Conducting ‘Deep Dive' Into Psychedelic Stocks
Are psychedelic business stocks about to get a lot more attention from retail investors? 10 days ago, ARK's Genomic Revolution ETF (BATS: ARKG) made an initial investment into the best financed psychedelic medicines company, atai Life Sciences (Nasdaq: ATAI). Since then, ARKG has bought atai stock an additional 4 times, bringing their total stake in the Peter Thiel-backed company to 343,058 shares, valued at just over $2 million. And while this still only represents 0.05% of ARKG’s holdings, in a week it has grown from 0.01%. Then this week, ARK Invest Genomic Analyst Ali Urman announced she's doing a “deep dive” into psychedelic stocks, suggesting they're starting to take this emerging industry a lot more seriously, which may very well cause others to do the same and create more cashflow into the growing psychedelic business.