The emerging space that is ketamine therapeutics is a dynamic one with significant implications on capital markets and the greater psychedelic renaissance overall. Ketamine therapy is offering remarkable, rapid relief to an increasing number of people suffering from challenging mental health and pain related diagnoses. Current projects in the wake of COVID-19 place the global antidepressant market at nearly 30 billion dollars (USD).1 Since ketamine is proving to be incredibly more effective than traditional antidepressant medication, it is not surprising that as industry evolves and offers new hope to patients, that it is also creating new and exciting opportunities for investors as well. This guide will highlight three notable publicly traded companies in the emerging ketamine therapeutics industry that every psychedelic investor should keep an eye on.

 

Publicly Traded Company #1: Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

 

  • FOUNDED 1886
  • MARKET CAP US$403.34B
  • DRUG DISCOVERY: YES
  • DRUG MANUFACTURE: YES
  • CLINICAL TRIALS: YES
  • CLINICS: NO

 

The recent FDA approval of Johnson & Johnson’s Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray for major depressive disorder and acute suicidal ideation is historic in ketamine’s unique journey in being repurposed from an anesthetic into a novel mental health medicine. Set to be regulated as a schedule three (CIII) compound, Spravato nasal spray is the first and only approved medicine shown to reduce depressive symptoms within 24 hours after only one dose.2 This is a radical improvement over current treatment modalities, such as SSRI’s, which are much more limited in efficacy and don’t work nearly as quickly. With decades of experience as a pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson’s is spearheading the medicalization of ketamine therapeutics for mental health treatment with Spravato and is most certainly a company that investors should keep an eye on.

 

Publicly Traded Company #2: Takeda Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: TAK)

 

  • FOUNDED 1781
  • MARKET CAP US $56.84B
  • DRUG DISCOVERY: YES
  • DRUG MANUFACTURE: YES
  • CLINICAL TRIALS: YES
  • CLINICS: NO

 

While a complete understanding of the mechanism’s ketamine uses to rapidly relieve depression is unknown, Takeda Pharmaceuticals is harnessing the knowledge we do have to create a novel ketamine alternative that is proposed to be safer and more effective. In a 2019 clinical trial sponsored by Takeda, the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPA-R) potentiator TAK-137 was assessed for its ability to produce antidepressive effects with lower risks of bell-shaped dose-response and seizure induction”.3 The idea behind this compound is its AMPA-R activating properties consequently activate the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and upregulate brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)—both key mechanisms implicated in ketamine’s antidepressant action.3 Since ketamine is hardly a new compound, novel approaches such as Takeda’s are worth watching out for in the quest to develop new therapeutics with valuable IP in the emerging ketamine therapeutics space.

 

Publicly Traded Company #3: Seelos Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SEEL)

 

  • FOUNDED 2016
  • MARKET CAP US$45.62M
  • DRUG DISCOVERY: YES
  • DRUG MANUFACTURE: YES
  • CLINICAL TRIALS: YES
  • CLINICS: NO

 

The innovative, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Seelos Therapeutics, recently announced the release of “additional interim data from its Phase I clinical trial of their intranasal racemic ketamine (SLS-002).”4 They also announced that they recently completed their “Type C meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as scheduled to discuss the protocol design for a study of SLS-002 for Acute Suicidal Ideation and Behavior (ASIB) in patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).”4 Since ketamine has been a part of medical pharmacopeia for decades, companies are required to maneuver novel ketamine treatments through the complex regulatory landscape that is FDA clinical trials. For this reason, as innovation tends to be rewarded in the current drug development paradigm, like Seelos are definitely are worth keeping an eye on.

 

Bexson Biomedical: A Notable Private Biotech Firm Developing Ketamine Based Therapy for Postoperative Pain

 

While the above three companies are the most significant in the publicly traded ketamine space, a growing number of private firms are poised to make a big impact as well. Of these, Bexson Biomedical is especially worth mentioning for their novel efforts in pioneering ketamine-based therapeutics for not only managing acute, postoperative pain, but potentially preventing the graduation of acute pain into chronic pain. Since postoperative pain patients are at highest risk for ultimately becoming addicted to opioids, a significant global affliction and socioeconomic burden, Bexson’s ketamine infusion treatment, tailored for at-home use, is poised to revolutionize pain management. The current opioid crisis has exposed deep cracks in our current pain management paradigm and highlighted the need for radically new, more effective therapies. Private companies like Bexson Biomedical are important private firms to follow through this dynamic evolution that is ketamine therapy.

 

Learn more about Bexson Biomedical’s ambitious plan to develop novel ketamine therapy for-home use for post-operative pain, a $12 billion dollar market, in this evidence-based blog and at our upcoming Ketamine Molecular Masterclass.

 

A Look Ahead to the Emerging Ketamine Therapeutics Market

 

The current pandemic has painfully exposed deeply systemic flaws in the way we currently approach the global mental health epidemic. The emerging field of ketamine therapeutics is poised to profoundly shift the paradigm by which we treat these increasingly prevalent and complex conditions. For those looking engage with players in the publicly traded space, this guide offers three companies that are worth investigating. Additionally, this article explores the notable private firm, Bexson Biomedical, and their significant contributions to this emerging space. For deeper insights into the major players in this rapidly expanding field, be sure to get tickets to our upcoming Ketamine Molecular Masterclass featuring world-class speakers and thought leaders ketamine therapeutics today.

 

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Works Cited

  1. Markets, R. and. Global Antidepressants Market (2020 to 2030) – COVID-19 Implications and Growth. GlobeNewswire News Room http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/04/21/2019282/0/en/Global-Antidepressants-Market-2020-to-2030-COVID-19-Implications-and-Growth.html (2020).
  2. Bahr, R., Lopez, A. & Rey, J. A. Intranasal Esketamine (SpravatoTM) for Use in Treatment-Resistant Depression In Conjunction With an Oral Antidepressant. Pharm. Ther. 44, 340–375 (2019).
  3. Suzuki, A. et al. TAK-137, an AMPA receptor potentiator with little agonistic effect, produces antidepressant-like effect without causing psychotomimetic effects in rats. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 183, 80–86 (2019).
  4. Inc, S. T. Seelos Therapeutics Announces Additional Interim Data from Phase I Studies of Intranasal Racemic Ketamine (SLS-002). GlobeNewswire News Room http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/03/24/2005472/0/en/Seelos-Therapeutics-Announces-Additional-Interim-Data-from-Phase-I-Studies-of-Intranasal-Racemic-Ketamine-SLS-002.html (2020).