By Roland Sebestyén
A UK-based company has raised money for the development of medicines with low-dose psilocybin to treat patients with rare headaches and a severe type of depression.
Beckley Psytech, of Oxford, a private company dedicated to addressing neurological and psychiatric disorders through the novel application of psychedelic medicines, has announced that it secured £58m to fund its research programmes.
According to a statement, the funding will be used to complete the ongoing Phase 1b trial with low-dose psilocybin in patients suffering from Short-Lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform Headache Attacks (SUNHA), a rare and debilitating headache condition estimated to affect 45,000 people in the US and Europe.
Also, the money will be of help to initiate a Phase 1 dose-ranging study on a novel formulation of intranasal 5-MeO-DMT – a psychoactive compound produced by a number of plants – before starting a Phase 2 trial in Treatment-Resistant Depression.
Cosmo Feilding Mellen, CEO of Beckley Psytech, said: “My life’s passion has been to unlock the therapeutic potential of psychedelics as I believe these compounds could help millions of people around the world.
“The progress Beckley Psytech has made in attracting exceptional talent to the team and advancing our ambitious clinical development programmes over the past two years has been tremendously exciting.
“As we embark on our next phase of growth, our strong syndicate of expert investors will support us in bringing much-needed innovative treatments to patients suffering from neurological and psychiatric conditions.”
The announcement adds to expectations that the UK could become a hub of psychedelics research in the coming years. The launch of Clerkenwell Health in the UK earlier this year hoped to help psychedelic drug developers get their treatments to market at a pace.
A number of studies have suggested that psychedelics such as DMT may be helpful in the treatment of some mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.