Researchers Seek to Better Understand Psychedelics' Role in New Therapies
NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Psychedelics are slowly becoming more acceptable as a legitimate treatment option for various anxiety and depression related mental illnesses. Depression is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders in modern society. It is estimated that over 250 million people suffer from some form of depression around the world. And, according to a report by Research and Markets, the U.S. reported a sharp increase (~20%) in the number of prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs during the global lockdown enforced to curb the spread of the pandemic. Furthermore, the World Health Organization indicated that the major barriers to effective treatment for depression and other mental illnesses include the lack of understanding of the aforementioned conditions resulting in an irrational social stigma, inaccurate diagnosis, and paucity of effective medication. Over time, it has been demonstrated in various studies that psychedelic substances interact with a variety of neurotransmitter pathways, and indicate promising potential therapeutic implications. Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (OTC: MMEDF) (NEO: MMED), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), AstraZeneca PLC (NASDAQ: AZN)
An example of a recent study includes data based on an examination of 27 people, which found that a treatment featuring the hallucinogen psilocybin worked better than the usual antidepressant medications, a team reported back in November in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. According to NPR, the study comes after earlier research offered hints that psilocybin might work against depression and after a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that it could ease depression and anxiety in patients who had life-threatening cancer.
Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. (OTCQB: MMEDF) (NEO: MMED) reported last week that, "it has closed its previously announced bought deal short form prospectus offering, including the exercise in full of the Underwriters' over-allotment option (the "Offering"). In connection with the Offering, the Company issued 20,930,000 units of the Company (the "Units") at a price per Unit of CAD $4.40 (the "Issue Price") for gross proceeds of approximately CAD $92.1m. The Offering was conducted by Canaccord Genuity Corp. (the "Lead Underwriter"), along with Eight Capital and CIBC Capital Markets (collectively, the "Underwriters").
As announced on December 14, 2020, MindMed originally entered into an agreement with the Lead Underwriter to raise gross proceeds of CAD $50.0m and agreed to increase the size of the Offering to CAD $80.0m on December 15, 2020 due to outsized investor demand. In connection with the filing of MindMed's final prospectus on December 31, 2020, CIBC Capital Markets was also added to the offering.
MindMed is a leading psychedelic medicine biotech company that discovers, develops and deploys psychedelic inspired medicines and experiential therapies to address addiction and mental illness. Since the founding of Mind Medicine, Inc. in May 2019, MindMed has now raised a total of approximately CAD $237.2m (USD $183.8m) in investment capital before fundraising and deal expenses, making it one of the leaders in the psychedelic medicine industry in its ability to finance its innovative R&D, a new digital therapeutics division and a growing clinical trial pipeline.
MindMed Co-Founder & Co-CEO, J.R. Rahn said "We are extremely pleased to have the continued support of our Lead Underwriter, Canaccord Genuity, as well as Eight Capital and CIBC Capital Markets as syndicate members. Financing is critical to the fast-growing psychedelic medicine industry as we seek to pioneer a new paradigm and therapeutic asset class for the millions suffering from mental illness and addiction globally."
The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the Offering for investment in its digital medicine division, for further investments in its LSD experiential therapy program for anxiety disorders ("Project Lucy"), its development of a non-hallucinogenic version of the psychedelic substance ibogaine to address the opioid crisis ("Project Layla"), and its LSD micro-dosing trials for adult ADHD, as well as for general working capital and corporate purposes.
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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported back in 2019 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray, in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for the treatment of depression in adults who have tried other antidepressant medicines but have not benefited from them (treatment-resistant depression). Because of the risk of serious adverse outcomes resulting from sedation and dissociation caused by Spravato administration, and the potential for abuse and misuse of the drug, it is only available through a restricted distribution system, under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). "There has been a long-standing need for additional effective treatments for treatment-resistant depression, a serious and life-threatening condition," said Tiffany Farchione, M.D., acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Controlled clinical trials that studied the safety and efficacy of this drug, along with careful review through the FDA's drug approval process including a robust discussion with our external advisory committees, were important to our decision to approve this treatment. Because of safety concerns, the drug will only be available through a restricted distribution system and it must be administered in a certified medical office where the health care provider can monitor the patient."
AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) announced back in May last year that it has completed the acquisition of Allergan. As a result, AbbVie has gained access to Allergan's ketamine-like drug for depression, which has secured the FDA's coveted breakthrough therapy designation, guaranteeing the company access to top agency officials as it moves toward late-stage development.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is one of several major pharmaceuticals selling Benzodiazepines, which are used for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, seizures, social phobia, and panic disorders. Pfizer's Xanax, for example, could also be indicated for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, as well as for the treatment of anxiety conditions with co-morbid depression. The FDA label advises that the physician should periodically reassess the usefulness of the drug.
AstraZeneca PLC (NASDAQ: AZN) and Yale University researchers tested a compound known as lanicemine (developed by the company) on 152 depressed patients at 30 different clinics. Fifty patients underwent intravenous therapy with a placebo saline solution. The other 102 were split into two groups, with each group receiving a different dose of the ketamine mimic. Compared to the placebo, the compound showed rapid and significant antidepressant effects that lingered for several weeks following a three-week dosing period. "Clearly, there's a huge unmet need for depressed patients," said study co-author Gerard Sanacora, director of Yale's Depression Research Program, back in 2013. "Here at Yale, we're very interested in exploring novel treatment strategies, and so we're very interested in these compounds."
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