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Psyched: Novamind Partners With Merck, Atai Expands To Japan, Australia Funds Psychedelics Research

March 22, 2021 9:09 am
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Psyched: Novamind Partners With Merck, Atai Expands To Japan, Australia Funds Psychedelics Research

Novamind Strikes Research Deal With Merck

Psychedelics company Novamind (OTC:NVMDF) announced a subsidiary has been selected as a research site for a clinical trial of a compound developed by pharma giant Merck (NYSE:MRK).

The phase II trial will assess the efficacy and safety of MK-1942, an undescribed molecule, in conjunction with antidepressants, for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression.

The psychedelics company said that “at this stage in the process there’s not much of anything Novamind can say about the compound or how it works,” leaving questions around the possible psychedelic effects of MK-1942 unanswered.

Regardless, this event can be viewed as a sign of trust in Novamind and its subsidiary, Cedar Clinical Research, from one of the most prominant companies in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Novamind’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Reid Robison called it an “exciting research opportunity,” and expressed plans to expand the offer of contract research services to more drug developers.

Cedar Clinical Research is currently serving as a contract research site for seven clinical trials.

Ballot Votes On Psychedelics Come Into Effect In DC and Oregon

As of now, natural psychedelics are a lowest law enforcement priority in Washington D.C.

After voters approved the decriminalization of psychedelic plants and fungi in the country’s capital last November, initiative 81 came into effect on March 15 under the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020.

In Oregon, the two-year plan to legalize and regulate the therapeutic use of psilocybin, set in motion by the approval of Measure 109 last November, reached an important milestone after Governor Kate Brown announced the members of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.

The board is composed of doctors, researchers, therapists and fungi experts.

Atai’s Perception Expands In Japan

Perception Neuroscience announced  a collaboration and licensing agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. for the development and commercialization of PCN-101 in Japan.

PCN-101 is a proprietary ketamine analog developed by Perception, which could be deployed in Japan for the potential treatment of major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression.

Under the agreement, Otsuka will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialize products containing PCN-101 in Japan.

Perception, a company that is part of Atai Life Sciences’ portfolio, will receive an upfront payment of $20 million. The company plans to use the proceeds to help fund overall development of treatments. Additional proceeds could be added in the future in the form of royalties from commercial sales.

Otsuka will be in charge of putting PCN-101 through the development and regulatory steps necessary to commercialize the product in Japan.

PharmaDrug Dives Into DMT Research With The University Of Michigan

Pharmaceutical company PharmaDrug Inc. (OTC: LMLLF) — which focuses on cannabis, psychedelics and naturally-derived medicines — has launched a sponsored research agreement with the University of Michigan to study the psychedelic DMT.

“Our research collaboration with the University of Michigan and its commitment on consciousness science is essential to our psychedelic pharmaceutical strategy of creating a unique portfolio of DMT therapies targeting rare disorders while also focusing on foundational research with DMT to explore and evaluate its therapeutic potential across all physiological areas of the human body,” said CEO Daniel Cohen.

Australia Government Lays Down $11 Million For Psychedelics Research

The Federal Government of Australia is backing a set of clinical trials with funding of AU$15 million ($11.6 million), that will explore how MDMA, ketamine and psilocybin can be used for the treatment of mental health disorders.

"The early results of trials in Australia and internationally are extremely encouraging, but more research is desperately needed," said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The decision comes just weeks after the country’s Therapeutic Goods Administration denied a request to move MDMA and psilocybin from a schedule 9 (prohibited substance) to a schedule 8 (controlled medicine).

Psychedelics Companies Close Over $125M In Raises

  • Field Trip Health (OTCQX:FTRPF) announced the closing of a CA$95 million (US$76.5 million) offering, one of the largest in the sector’s history. This puts Field Trip’s cash on hand at roughly CA$113.7 million. Proceeds are expected to be used to expand the company's psychedelics-assisted psychotherapy clinics across North America, and the development of Field Trip’s lead drug candidate, FT-104. 
  • Numinus Wellness closed a CA$40 million ($31.2 million) bought deal financing, issuing 28 million new units composed of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant. Numinus now boasts CA$65 million ($51.9 million) in cash on hand. The company plans to develop “revenue-generating growth initiatives,” including an expansion of the Numinus Bioscience lab, clinic acquisitions and purpose-built flagship facilities.
  • Bright Minds closed a unit offering for CA$25.9 Million ($20.6 million) that will be used for R&D, as well as working capital and general corporate purposes.

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