This dynamic presentation is from our September 2020 edition of Psychedelic Capital. You can get FREE access to recordings here using discount code ‘PSYCAP’! To learn more about our amazing Psychedelic Capital sponsors, click here!

The role of the dissociative anesthetic ketamine in the psychedelic medicine movement is a novel one. Unlike the classic psychedelic drugs that primarily act on serotonin (5HT2a), sub-anesthetic doses of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, produce a very different type of psychedelic experience, both mechanistically and experientially. Furthermore, recent research into dissociative drugs like ketamine suggests that they have promising implications in the areas of pain management and mental health treatment. Bexson Biomedical is an innovative biotech firm at the forefront of developing ketamine-based therapeutics for pain management. Here are three key takeaways from their insightful presentation at our fall Psychedelic Capital event.

Bexson Biomedical ketamine therapeutics pain management opioid addiction

Key Takeaway #1: We Need Novel Non-Opioid Pain Management More Than Ever Before

In a brief released by the American Medical Association on October 6th, 2020, the group reported that “more than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.” The current pandemic has undoubtedly strained an already fragile healthcare system and highlighted the urgent need for an evolution in, among many areas, pain medicine. 

To learn more about the important intersection of mental health and psychedelic medicine, check out this great piece on Psychedelic Therapy & Global Mental Health Awareness Day.

The haphazard use and abuse of opioids in the treatment of pain, and its ultimate culmination into the modern-day opioid crisis, highlights the need for more effective, non-opioid therapies for pain management, now more than ever before. Bexson Biomedical is harnessing the promising research demonstrating ketamine’s effectiveness as a painkiller in the hope that it will serve as an adjunct and/or alternative to opioids in the treatment of postoperative pain–the patient population at highest risk for developing chronic pain and opioid addiction.   

Currently, pain management is a $66 billion dollar a year market globally, with post-operative pain being a whopping $12 billion in the US market alone. With tremendous room for improvement in traditional opioid-based pain management therapeutics, the team at Bexson is looking to make a dynamic impact with their ketamine-based treatment.

Bexson Biomedical ketamine therapeutics pain management opioid addiction

Key Takeaway #2: Ketamine Works Better Than Opioids In Many Important Ways

From decade old anesthetic and powerful hallucinogen to radical mental health medicine, ketamine is now making its debut as a potent, yet remarkably safe, painkiller. In fact, ketamine’s powerful analgesic ability has made its way to the battlefield, where it is rapidly replacing morphine.1 Their dynamic CEO Gregg Peterson noted how ketamine was even more effective than the potent opioid demerol in treating pain. He noted how patients receiving ketamine actually noted a 50% reduction in pain symptoms after 12 hours, whereas patients on demerol stated their pain returned to 100% after 12 hours. Since opioids like morphine and demerol suppress respiration, it’s a huge deal that ketamine can kill pain just as effectively (if not more so) without the risk of these serious adverse effects. In fact, ketamine is an incredibly safe compound and, as noted, has been used as a clinical practice as an anesthetic for decades (over 50 years to be exact).

Learn more about Ketamine: The Uncommon Hallucinogen Poised to Revolutionize Pain Management

This remarkable finding actually speaks to one of the major benefits ketamine poses in treating pain, particularly in post-operative patients: they were much less likely to graduate from acute pain to chronic pain. In fact, some patients have shown their pain actually worsens after just a single dose of opioids. Since ketamine has the ability to not only treat acute pain but prevent the evolution of that pain into something chronic (for which treatment options are extremely limited), the therapeutics being developed by Bexson stand to make a massive impact. 

Bexson Biomedical ketamine therapeutics pain management opioid addiction

Key Takeaway #3: Bexson is Developing Novel Ketamine Therapeutics for At-Home Use

Those familiar with the pharmacology of ketamine understand the current difficulty of at home administration by patients. While IV use is ideal for the clinic, this is impractical for at home use. Current methodologies, such as nasal sprays and sublingual troches have varying degrees of success with patients and significantly lower bioavailability. This is where the team at Bexson and the novel therapeutics they are developing is poised to be a game changer. 

Bexson aims to deliver ketamine using a wearable device, similar to the currently FDA approved method used by diabetes patients for taking insulin. This subcutaneous route of infusion will leverage existing technology to deliver an effective dose for the patient and keep it on board. The team is currently pairing this device with a proprietary formulation of ketamine currently in development. Given the unique benefits of ketamine and the massive implications it has over opioids in treating pain, the team Bexson Biomedical is projected to make a powerful impact.

Bexson Biomedical ketamine therapeutics pain management opioid addiction

A Look Ahead for Bexson Biomedical 

There are over 50 peer-reviewed studies demonstrating ketamine’s powerful ability safely and effectively manage pain and countless others establishing its safety in clinical practice. This puts the team at Bexson at a unique advantage in working with this compound and developing unique and novel therapeutics around it. They also hope this large market will eventually monetize many other pain and mental health ketamine-based therapy programs down the road. As ketamine therapy expands and, in a way, pioneers the way forward for psychedelic medicine, Bexson Biomedical is certainly an important company to watch out for.  

Works Cited

1. Wedmore, I. S. & Butler, F. K. Battlefield Analgesia in Tactical Combat Casualty Care. Wilderness Environ. Med. 28, S109–S116 (2017).

Bexson Biomedical ketamine therapeutics pain management opioid addiction