7/17/20

I’m happy to share some exciting updates about efforts to advance psychedelic-assisted therapies. There has been great progress made during these uncertain times.
The MAPS Capstone Campaign received a significant boost when Tim Ferriss, during his interview with MAPS Founder Rick Doblin, announced a combined $10 million dollar matching grant (facilitated by Tim and the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative). MAPS has until September 10 to raise $10 million in new funding, which will enable them to complete Phase III Trials of MDMA for PTSD and begin making this treatment widely available.
Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics received initial funding from generous donors and will be commencing studies shortly. Leveraging its interdisciplinary psychiatry, neuroimaging and chemical neurobiology resources, the Center will explore how and why psychedelics have such a profound impact on our brains and mental health. Initial studies will focus on psilocybin’s effect on rumination as a transdiagnostic condition and MDMA’s effect on social isolation in veterans with PTSD. I’m chairing the Advisory Council and we are making great strides in bringing together a strong community of advisors and supporters. We recently held a virtual Salon and it was inspiring to see 200+ philanthropists and leaders in this space take an interest in what is being built (recording here). Next Monday, July 20th @ 12pm EDT, we will be holding a deep dive Salon focused on the potential of MGH’s advanced neuroimaging capabilities for psychedelic research. You can register for it hereAdditionally, the next Salon on September 15th @ 1pm EDT, will take a closer look at human neural stem cells and 3D mini-brains to understand and develop the therapeutic potential of psychoactive plant specimens, described by the late Dr. Richard Shultes, widely considered the founder of the field of ethnobotany. 
 
The YPO Psychedelic Medicines for Mental Health Group continues to host informative webinars with leaders advancing psychedelic medicines and therapies. We recently held sessions with ATAI Founder Christian Angemeyer as well as Rachel Yehuda, a leading trauma researcher actively working within the VA to advance psychedelic-assisted therapy for veterans with PTSD.
The Boston Psychedelic Research Group (BPRG) will have Annie and Dr. Michael Mithoefer who together developed MAPS’ therapeutic protocol speak (virtually) on September 13 from 12-4pm EDT. Please email the BPRG  if you are interested in learning more.

The ecosystem of psychedelic-focused companies is growing rapidly. In April, Compass Pathways and ATAI Life Sciences announced $80mm and $24mm funding rounds (respectively) from best-in-class biotech investors including an affiliate of Otsuka PharmaceuticalPerceptive Advisors, and Future Ventures. It is exciting to see these innovative therapies finding resonance with mainstream healthcare.

 

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more or if I can be of help in any way!

 

Be well and enjoy the summer!
Dick Simon

 

Useful Links
Can Psychedelics Treat Climate Grief? (Michael Pollan – The Nation)
The Power of Psychedelics (Scientific American)