Optimi To Supply Psilocybin For New Zealand's Mātai Medical Research Institute

Zinger Key Points
  • Optimi's natural psilocybin to be assessed on a first-of-kind clinical study on Māori patients in a New Zealand.

Canadian licensed psychedelics pharmaceutical manufacturer Optimi Health Corp. OPTHF has signed an international agreement to supply natural psilocybin to New Zealand-based Mātai Medical Research Institute, on behalf of the Tū Wairua Project. 

The agreement marks Optimi’s first supply deal involving Kiwiland, and "a significant milestone" for the company’s global expansion efforts. 

The company will provide Mātai with its GMP Full Spectrum Natural Psilocybin extract, and further track stability of the extract toward ensuring the highest standards of GMP quality and compliance.

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Zealand Endeavor

November 2023, the individuals, whānau (families), community groups and institutions that make up the Tū Wairua project gathered at Rangiwaho Marae, a tribal meeting place in New Zealand's Tairāwhiti region.

The project team has since designed a clinical trial protocol and secured ethics and regulatory approval for its first clinical study. Scheduled for mid-2024, this psilocybin pilot study aims to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and safety of administering psychedelic-assisted therapy to Māori patients (healthy volunteers) in a marae setting. 

Longer-term goals include informing potential future, controlled trials involving Māori patients with methamphetamine use disorder.

See Also: Global Psychedelics: Australia’s Prescription Guidelines, New Zealand’s Meth Addiction Treatment 

Optimi's CEO Bill Ciprick says the agreement underscores the historical and cultural importance of the work undertaken by the New Zealand counterpart "to honor and respect the indigenous heritage of the Māori people." 

On behalf of Mātai, Dr. Patrick McHugh said that the trial will center on training local clinicians, rongoa (traditional Māori medicine) specialists and marae community members as kaitieki (guides) in psychedelic-assisted therapy. 

This first clinical study will reportedly involve integrating the associated kawa and tikanga (cultural practices and protocols) into the therapeutic experience, making it "the first trial of its kind in Aotearoa."

Jody Toroa, trustee of Rangiwaho Marae, added, "We recognize that, alongside many First Nations peoples, we have a relationship with native flora and fauna as a source of healing and reconnection to our respective indigenous cultural practices. Optimi medicines provide the closest natural fungi to the marae's local, indigenous species, which for Rangiwaho Marae and the Tū Wairua collective, is key to the integrity of the project. Synthetic products, by comparison, are not conducive to our reclaiming of cultural knowledge and customary practice."

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Photo courtesy of Ivan Sanford on Unsplash.

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Posted In: CannabisNewsPsychedelicsContractsLegalManagementGlobalNew Zealand PsychedelicsPsilocybin programPsychedelic-Assisted TherapiesPsychedelics Research
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