Today, we are lucky to have Doug Drysdale – CEO – of Cybin Corp. with us and appreciate you taking the time to educate our readers. Cybin is a leading Life Sciences Company focused on the development of products and protocols in the psychedelic, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sectors.
Congratulations on your new role as CEO of Cybin Corp. With your background and experience in big pharma what made you want to venture into psychedelics?
Thank you for having me on today. I am very excited to be joining the Cybin team and to be in a position help those suffering from mental illness. As for many of us, mental illness is deeply personal for me. I have friends and family that have been severely impacted by addiction and depression, even to the point of suicide. I have watched them struggle with their conditions and have seen how unsatisfactory traditional pharmaceuticals have been in helping to manage these conditions.
For decades we have been using pharmaceuticals to treat the signs and symptoms of depression, rather than tackling the underlying disease. Psychedelics have the potential to help patients “re-wire” their thoughts by providing a period of temporary neuroplasticity, potentially enabling those suffering from depression to address the underlying causes of their condition.
I am happy to be able to bring my pharmaceutical experience to Cybin and help the team develop psychedelic molecules into meaningful treatments for patients.
Cybin is comprised of two divisions that are focused on different opportunities. Can you please tell our readers about Nature’s Journey and Serenity Life Sciences?
Serenity Life Sciences is our pharmaceuticals division, focused on developing psychedelic molecules into treatments for conditions such as depression, addiction, anxiety, PTSD and ADHD – conditions that impact hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Nature’s Journey is our wellness brand, focused on mushroom-derived health supplements and nutraceutical products. We are in the process of launching products that help with concentration, energy, stress and immune support. There are over 1.5 million species of fungi, with only around 6-8% having been identified. The more we learn about these incredible organisms, the more we are learning about their potential health and wellness benefits.
Cybin is highly focused on executing on its intellectual property (IP) strategy. Can you tell us more about the company’s strategy as it relates to IP?
Our primary focus is on optimizing patients’ psychedelic experience and providing improved treatment protocols. Our development efforts are centered around improving how psychedelics work in the body, such as a faster onset of action, a shorter and more manageable duration of action, potentially reducing hallucinogenic effects and providing digital tools to support the patients’ treatment journey. To this end, we are developing novel drug formulations and investigating improved natural and synthetic psychedelic molecules that will ultimately lead to a broad IP portfolio.
What indications is Cybin focused on and how did the company decide to focus on these conditions?
Our first study, which will begin dosing around the end of this year, is designed to treat patients with Major Depressive Disorder. Going forward, we also plan on investigating the potential use of psychedelics in conditions such as anxiety, addiction, ADHD and PTSD.
Globally, over 700 million people are affected by some form of mental illness, addiction or eating disorder, resulting in total direct and indirect costs to society of around $2.5 trillion, annually. One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, according to the WHO. So, the development of psychedelic molecules into approved medications has the potential to impact many, many lives around the world.
What therapies will Serenity Life Sciences be initially focused on developing and how long is it expected to take to hit the market?
Our sublingual treatment for Major Depressive Disorder is expected to complete trials in Jamaica by the end of 2021. We anticipate that the treatment could be available to sufferers in Jamaica within 1-2 years after, and then available across all 42mm inhabitants of the Caribbean. Ultimately, we want to be able to bring this relief to those suffering from MDD in North America and beyond.
The company has leverage to Canada, Jamaica and the US. Can you tell us about the operations and plans for each of these markets?
Our senior team in largely based in Toronto. I am based in the Boston area, close a major biotech epicenter, where we are planning to expand our development capabilities. We also have a clinical team in Jamaica, working closely with the University of the West Indies in support of our first clinical study.
In terms of markets, while we expect to see our first regulatory approval in the Caribbean, our goal is to bring our medications to patients around the globe.
What are some of the biggest potential growth catalysts for Cybin?
We are in the process of completing a round of financing that will support our phase 2 studies in Jamaica, along with providing the resources to acquire and license additional IP assets over the coming weeks and months. Near term value drivers include the completion of our sublingual psilocybin formulation activities, followed by the initiation of patient dosing in our phase 2 Major Depressive Disorder trial around the end of this year. Based on our extensive business and corporate development activity, I fully expect that we will be positioned to announce value-adding transactions in the near future that will expand our development capabilities and our IP portfolio. Specifically, we are investigating both synthetic and natural pathways to improve the patient experience using improved psychedelic molecules and novel mushroom metabolites.
Cybin plans to be patient before forming strategic partnerships with large biotech companies. Can you tell us more about this strategy and the expected timeline for these types of relationships?
I think that most young companies have the desire to bring their first product to market with internal resources. I am open minded about this. We are seeing a very large number of potential development opportunities in the psychedelic space, not just in mental health disorders, and will evaluate each of these opportunities on their own merit. It may be that we can create more value, faster, by partnering some of our IP with pharma or biotech partners, brining additional resources to help develop meaningful treatments for patients in need.
In regard to the functional mushroom market, Cybin’s strategy will be primarily geared towards e-commerce and this is expected to be a success due to the track record that is associated with the team. Can you provide more insight into this aspect of the business?
You are right, our team has a fantastic track record of creating value and driving revenues, using ecommerce tools. I am very excited by the talents that we have within our marketing and commercial team and impatient to share our brands with the universe. All I can say for now is that you are going to like what you see. Watch this space!
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