After Naomi Osaka cited mental health issues when she dropped out of the French Open, a major spotlight was put on the need for treatments that address these debilitating illnesses.
We believe the COVID pandemic has increased the need for breakthrough therapies and believe the psychedelic sector can have a positive impact on this need. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 51.5 million people in the US were living with a mental illness in 2019. We believe this number has significantly increased as a result of COVID and have been focused on biotech companies that are working to develop game-changing mental health treatments.
A Non-Profit that is Leading the Psychedelic Movement
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) was founded in 1986 and is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that is focused on developing medical, legal, and cultural contexts for the use of psychedelics and cannabis.
Currently, MAPS is highly focused on the development of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved psychedelic therapies for indications such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers that are funded by MAPS recently announced that two-thirds of participants who were taking the non-profit’s MDMA-assisted therapy no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
According to The New York Times, MAPS could receive FDA approval by 2023 and we are favorable on the data that is associated with the study. This comes after the Imperial College London’s study of the use of psilocybin to treat depression was published by The New England Journal of Medicine.
We consider MAPS is the world’s most advanced psychedelic program and is one of only three programs to be granted the breakthrough therapy designation (BTD) by the FDA. The designation comes with extra guidance during the trial process as well as an expedited review and we find this to be significant.
An Emerging Industry to be Aware of
The way the mainstream media is viewing psychedelic therapies is changing and this is a trend that we are closely following. Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) was the first company to have a ketamine based therapy approved by the FDA and this represented an important milestone for the industry. We are favorable on the types of companies and strategic investors that have entered the psychedelic therapy market and believe the industry is barely in the first inning of a multi-decade growth cycle.
Since inception, MAPS has invested more than $50 million to improve education and to conduct extensive research in psychedelic therapy areas that include: MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, LSD-assisted psychotherapy, ibogaine-assisted treatment and ayahuasca-assisted therapy, among others.
The approval of an MDMA-assisted psychotherapy would prove to be a major catalyst for the entire industry and could result in a trend that brings psychedelic medicine into the mainstream. We are bullish on the growth prospects that are associated with MAPS’ growth strategy and are favorable on the advancements that have been made on the biotech side of the business.
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