The Top 5 reasons you should consider the Psychedelic Medicine sector for your next role
Once a fringe topic of discussion, psychedelics has officially entered the mainstream. Although the intensity of the conversation seemed to pique in the 1960’s, pioneers such as Albert Hoffman first synthesized LSD in 1938 and historians have traced the usage of Magic Mushrooms back to 9000 BC in indigenous North African tribes and in the 1950’s in Western civilization.
Although there have been those that have "carried the torch"- such as Rick Doblin, who founded the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (“MAPS”) in 1986, Catalytic events of recent, including Michael Pollen’s book, How to Change Your Mind (2018) and Netflix Documentaries, have reignited the conversation around the potential benefits of many compounds that have been historically socially stigmatized in North America and beyond.
Not for Profits and Companies on the leading edge of this renaissance, include MAPS, Compass Pathways, Atai, Cybin, Mind Medicine and Field Trip to name but a handful, but there are an estimated more than 50 publicly traded psychedelic medicines companies in existence at the time of writing and multiple more early stage privately held organizations.
It is no doubt an exciting time in the study and continued evolution of psychedelic medicines.
As you think about your next career opportunity in the sciences, here are the top five reasons to consider a move into psychedelics.
1. The Science is Real and very compelling
There are a number of companies currently in pre-clinical through to phase 3 clinical studies of many of the compounds that fall under the psychedelics umbrella (Ketamine ,DMT, MDMA, Psilocybin). Although we are only beginning to see the results of these studies, what we have seen has been exciting and quite compelling. MAPS recently completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of PTSD. In fact, MAPS founder, Rick Doblin stated that “The results of the interim analysis of MAPS’ pivotal first Phase 3 trial are the most powerful evidence yet that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could help transform the lives of people suffering from PTSD.”
2. The regulatory landscape is rapidly evolving
In the United States, multiple cities and states have undertaken decriminalization and other efforts to change laws related to psychedelics. In late 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin. Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California have both penned legislation to decriminalize magic mushrooms.
The FDA has given breakthrough therapy designation for an MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat PTSD and beyond the borders of the US, there are a growing number of countries that have undertaken efforts of decriminalization and/or attenuating restrictions on psychedelics for personal use.
3. Innovation outside traditional boundaries
Given this evolving space is anything but traditional, it is not unexpected that we see some interesting and innovative partnerships taking form, a great example being the partnership between psychedelics company, Cybin and Technology company, Kernel, the latter of which has a first-of-its-kind device that uses quantitative neuroimaging technology that can measure brain activity in real time (using a helmet device) during psychedelic treatments.
4. Ability to help those in need while building and shaping an entire industry
Unlike more traditional Biotech, Psychedelic Medicine is still a somewhat unknown frontier, and this creates natural challenges but also tremendous opportunities for those individuals that are inclined to operate well in spaces with a high degree of ambiguity, with good strategic thinking bandwidth and ability to work effectively and wear the many “hats” required in small, high growth organizations. Many of the indications that psychedelics are currently being targeted for (PTSD, treatment resistance depression) have been relatively underpenetrated by recent drug development and have significant patient populations; the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives is significant.
5. Breadth of businesses and opportunity
Although the psychedelics space is mostly centered around the traditional biotech drug development model, there are a number of entrants in the space that operate across the “value stream”, including Medical tourism/recreational usage , Nutraceutical/wellness products, Clinic or treatment centres. This provides a wealth of opportunity for individuals of varying backgrounds and skillsets to enter the industry.