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“If you’re thinking about psychedelics or psychedelic-inspired medicines at large. They all have opportunities, and they all have challenges,” says Bruce Linton, a cannabis entrepreneur best known as the co-founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth.

 

After leaving Canopy in 2019, Linton pursued a number of different enterprises. He now leads Collective Growth Corp, a blank-check hemp company that managed to raise $150 million after going public at NASDAQ in May of this year.

 

But the entrepreneur has more than just cannabis on his plate. Linton also sits on the board of two psychedelics companies: MindMed and Red Light Holland.

In an exclusive conversation, Linton explained how he believes psychedelics companies should be structured in order to maximize their potential for success.

 

“My conclusion has increasingly been and is very strong now, that if you want to just pick one ingredient and one outcome, you have a very high-risk profile of failure versus success,” he told us.

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The Platform Model

As of November 2020, at least 15 psychedelics-focused companies have gone public, and many others are looking to follow suit.

 

After seeing the compelling evidence provided by researchers at major universities, it’s hard to doubt that medicinal psychedelics will eventually become legalized.

 

However, it’s still unclear how this process will go about, which psychedelics will be permitted and for what specific ailments.

 

“I can’t tell you how psilocybin is going to work out against depression, how that’s going to be commercializable. I can’t tell you if microdosing LSD is going to work against ADHD. But if you have enough of these going, you now have enough capacity, I think, to raise quite a lot more money,” says Linton.

 

In his view, the companies that will attract the most investor capital are those that work with a range of compounds, targeting multiple medical indications, and possibly combining psychedelic substances to achieve diverse results.

 

“What I think is gonna happen,” he added “is you’re going to have two or three platform companies in the psychedelic space that say ‘we have very good fundraising, a very good clinical trial development team, very good supply chain on the ingredients and GMP’.”

 

 

 

Companies in the psychedelics space that focus their operations in the research and development of one particular compound for one specific ailment risk losing everything if that treatment is not approved in due time.

 

“You’re going to end up having companies that have maybe five, six, seven, eight indications with three or four primary ingredients targeting.”

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Winners and Losers

Looking at all the companies currently navigating the psychedelics space, ATAI Life Sciences seems to be the one that best fits Linton’s platform model.

 

ATAI is a biotech platform that works as an investment vehicle for a number of companies under its umbrella. The platform involves ten companies working with one compound each, including Compass Pathways, a psilocybin research company that debuted at NASDAQ in September.

 

Linton commented that in his view, ATAI and MindMed -where he’s a board director- are more similar than one would think.

 

“MindMed is working on a derivative of ibogaine. It’s working on LSD. It’s working on ayahuasca. But these are different scientists with a common framing. ATAI is more like an investment vehicle, but I think they’re going to increasingly get involved in the overall architecture,” he voiced.

psychedelics entrepreneur bruce linton canopy cannabis

Exploring the Role of MAPS in the Psychedelic Renaissance

 

Another player that comes to mind when looking at the “platform model” is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies. This nonprofit is achieving success by following a model that seems to go against Linton’s recommendations, and is getting very close to receiving FDA approval of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

However, Linton believes that MAPS could be the exception to the rule.

 

“Well, they’ve been at it for a long time,” he told us, raising a fair point. MAPS started advocating for the medicinal use of MDMA in psychiatry in 1986, while most companies in the psychedelics space are, at most, a few years old.

 

“To me, it’s not actually about the content of psychedelics. It’s about the strategy of risk mitigation and spreading overheads across a broad enough activity base that you actually have some winners and some losers. And the company still succeeds.”

psychedelics entrepreneur bruce linton canopy cannabis