Psychedelic drugs are poised to revolutionize modern medicine by radically and efficaciously treating a variety of difficult conditions that current treatments are failing to effectively address for many people. The projected pathway towards the mainstream medicalization and prescriptibility of these promising compounds is very likely through the creation of novel patented molecules, with limited market opportunities anticipated for the classic psychedelic compounds (e.g. LSD, DMT, and psilocybin). Given this and that the current paradigm for drug discovery and development rewards innovation, the drive to take a “plant to pill” approach is anticipated to open up unique opportunities in this emerging space. To help investors and enthusiasts stay informed, this review will highlight three major industry verticals in the modern movement to medicalize psychedelic drugs.

Strategic & Diversified Partnerships: Big Pharma, Biotech & Beyond

When taking the standard pharmaceutical approach to drug development, the idea is to produce a new molecule that has improved efficacy, reduced side effects and is patentable. The medicalization of novel psychedelic compounds is no different and will require large amounts of capital as well as comprehensive experience in maneuvering the rigorous regulatory framework in the drug development process. For this reason, the ideal partners in the push forward from “plant to pill” will likely be big players in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. With the emergence of numerous and distinct medicinal markets in this sector, there are various opportunities to work with multiple major industry partners.

The innovative solutions being developed at MagicMed could provide partners with a significant head start in the development of new medicines in this dynamic space. With MagicMed’s foundational patent claiming new derivatives of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms), their exceptional drug development tools stand to make a powerful impact on the multi-billion dollar mental health market. While forging relationships with leaders in pharma and biotech comprise MagicMed’s early partnership efforts, they should also be well positioned to support licit consumer goods developers in the future, should the legalization movement further open up those markets. The current business plan allows for MagicMed to be cash flow positive after 1-2 partners are in place—with the first of these partnerships targeted for late 2020. Furthermore, diversification of these strategic partnerships allows for a more conservative, multiple base hit strategy. Ultimately, the team at MagicMed hopes to be the “enabler” for other companies in the psychedelic space who are looking to utilize one of the novel compounds in their own product development efforts.   

Patentable Psychedelic Derivatives: Maneuvering Illicit Drugs into Licit Medicine

It is important for those observing the evolution of this emerging industry to understand the most likely path to mainstream medicalization is through patentable psychedelic derivatives. While it is possible there will be limited approval and utilization of the existing, traditional psychedelic molecules, it is projected to be in a very constrained clinical setting requiring trained therapists and clinicians. The market for prescription medication is many fold greater and will likely be the focus of the lion’s share of capital investment in the psychedelic sphere. It is anticipated these derivative psychedelic compounds will produce similar benefits as their classic counterparts, but with key modulations to their pharmacokinetic action that can make them more amenable to home use (e.g. similar in some ways to a microdose formulation of psilocybin). The molecules being created at MagicMed are entirely novel, with each compound potentially being the basis from which to create countless more. As psychedelic medicine becomes further integrated into modern pharmacopeia, organizations pioneering the production of these novel derivatives are certainly worth watching out for.

Using an Innovative Approach: Combining Synthetic Biology & Medicinal Chemistry

Since the traditional pharmaceutical model for drug development generally avoids getting involved in advancing molecules that are natural compounds, designing innovative approaches is fundamentally necessary. Aside from patentability concerns, natural compounds generally do not represent the most robust and chemically successful formulation of a prospective drug. Most of the time such compounds can be much improved for both benefits and toxicities through structural modification. While big pharma and biotech can fall short in this process, organizations like MagicMed are poised to excel by utilizing the newest, most cutting-edge scientific technologies. Their unique Psybrary is an expanding psychedelic derivative database that is poised to revolutionize the emerging psychedelic medicine sphere in big ways. MagicMed’s unique combinatorial approach combines advanced tools in synthetic biology and medicinal chemistry to efficiently produce robust, novel compounds in large numbers. MagicMed plans to file numerous patents to stake broad claims over the new derivative molecules contained in the Psybrary as they are developed to be fully patent protected. The Psybrary and other novel IP that facilitates their production is definitely a massive vertical and overall asset to this rapidly emerging industry. 

Integrating the emerging psychedelic medicine industry within the framework of current drug development presents both unique challenges and novel opportunities for players in this space. Promising verticals in this market entail strategic partnerships, the production of patented psychedelic derivatives, and cultivating unique approaches to developing and manufacturing these compounds. As this promising evolution in medicine transpires, the team at MagicMed is eager to provide the essential building blocks from which the industry can develop new, patented products and revolutionize healthcare as we currently know it.