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ATAI Launches Subsidiary Focused On Active Ingredient In Hallucinogenic Brews

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ATAI Launches Subsidiary Focused On Active Ingredient In Hallucinogenic Brews

Psychedelics and biotech company ATAI Life Sciences announced Wednesday the launch of Viridia Life Sciences.

This wholly-owned subsidiary will be dedicated to the study and production of the DMT molecule (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine).

DMT is a psychoactive alkaloid present in Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew traditionally used by indigenous communities in South America. The compound has gained attention in recent decades in North America for its ability to induce psychedelic experiences with a rapid onset and shorter duration than other psychedelic drugs.

While a typical LSD or psilocybin experience can last upwards of six hours, DMT’s hallucinogenic effects can reach a peak and extinguish in less than 15 minutes. 

Exploring Alternative Routes Of Administration

Most common applications of DMT in clinical settings are done through intravenous administration, as it’s the case with MindMed (NEO: MMED), another psychedelic company that announced the launch of DMT trials last month.

ATAI said that Viridia is leveraging the platform’s own drug development experience to formulate DMT products based on alternative routes of administration.

“Viridia’s DMT products will be developed with the specific aim of controlling the rate of which the drug is released and absorbed, which has a direct impact on the onset and duration of the psychedelic experience,” said Glenn Short, PhD, CEO of Viridia Life Sciences to Benzinga.

DMT’s psychedelic onset is typically very rapid and intense, beginning within two minutes. Short said that ATAI aims to slow the onset and lengthen the duration of the experience slightly, so that the psychedelic onset is much more gradual and overall more gentle and agreeable to the patient.

Combining DMT Treatment With Digital Therapeutics

Short added that ATAI will explore ways of combining DMT drug developments with its recently-launched digital therapeutics platform, which was announced earlier this month.

“Treatment does not stop after a patient leaves the doctor’s office. A digital therapeutic can give direct lines of communication to the therapist, allow journal writing, allow for real time patient monitoring,” said the executive.

These remote assessments will not only allow for the therapist to track progress toward the reduction and remission of specific symptoms, but also allow rapid intervention if necessary, or trigger a subsequent DMT-assisted psychotherapy session.

ATAI expects to begin human clinical trials in 2021.

Illustration by Vijay Verma on Icons8

 

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