Industry, regulators opening their minds to psychedelics as treatments

Scientific and commercial acceptance of the use of psychedelics as treatments for PTSD, anxiety, and other mental disorders has created an exciting new field for research, the latest episode of the I am BIO Podcast explains.

“About 1 in 4 people suffer from neurological and psychiatric disorders, and the cost of treating these global mental illnesses is expected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030,” according to podcast guest Frank Wiegand, Chief Medical Officer of Beckley Psytech, a U.K. biotech developing neuropsychiatric solutions with psychedelics. “Usually they are lifelong diseases, which is quite a high amount of disability.”

Psychedelics were long considered dangerous and often associated with hippies, but researchers today are looking at them from a different angle, said BIO’s podcast host and executive producer, Theresa Brady.

“It’s important to explore these compounds further, and hopefully they can bring a lot of patients out of these treatment conditions. This could potentially be quite exciting and good news for millions of people suffering,” Wiegand said.

Psychedelics can show results within 24 hours, an improvement over current drugs used to treat mental illness, which can take weeks to show an impact and are not always effective for everyone, Kurt Rasmussen, CSO for Delix Therapeutics said.

Delix Therapeutics is working on removing the hallucinogenic effects of psychedelics as it explores the drugs’ benefits in treating mental illnesses. “We’re taking the fun out of the fungi,” Rasmussen explained.

Beckley Psytech on the other hand is working on “a very powerful consciousness-altering drug” because hallucinations bring on a “mystical experience and states of what we call ego dissolution,” which, when guided by a psychotherapist, are essential to treatment, according to Wiegand.

“Psychedelic-derived treatments could treat indications estimated to reach over $700 billion in total market size by 2028,” said Clara Burtenshaw, whose Neo Kuma Ventures backs 20 companies in the field.

The FDA has approved clinical trials and “the U.S. is ahead of the pack in terms of regulatory momentum,” she added.

The podcast is available now via AppleGoogleSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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