Hey everyone and welcome back to Investors Scene. I’m Jeremy Szafron. Now, it’s going to be a very interesting show today because we are talking to a company that we previously had on called Mydecine Evolved. It trades under the CSC under the , and today we have Dr. Rakesh Jetly on the show. He is the chief medical officer for the company. We are excited about it because Mydecine as a group is really disrupting mental health and obviously the doctor is a part of that. So thank you for joining us today.
Mydecine Evolved is committed to veterans mental health across the globe
Dr. Rakesh Jetly: It’s a pleasure. One of the secret sauces of what we are doing is a commitment to veterans’ mental health across the globe. We come by it honestly. I just left the Canadian Armed Forces after 31 years of active duty in places like Rwanda and Afghanistan. I really understand the whole PTSD paradigm that has affected the US, Canada, Dutch, UK, etc. As you start out as a psychiatrist you start with the evidence-based treatment and the traditional (I still believe in those — the medication and therapy) but you realize that a lot of people don’t respond to those traditional treatments, so we do have to look for other treatments and alternatives.
What we have committed to, is a series of trials, in Europe and North America, small phase 2 A trials, where we look at using psychedelics with psychotherapy at the same time (medication-assisted psychotherapy) in order to address PTSD. Veterans are a difficult group to treat and tend to respond less often and less well with traditional therapies and often have comorbid depression and substance use, chronic pain, etc.
There is a concept called “oral injury” where sometimes veterans have guilt and shame over what they did, didn’t do, or saw. All of us on the scientific board are either veterans, just leaving active service, or have been in the veteran space for most of our careers. From a health perspective, when you look at veteran suicide, it’s an important population to work with. If we can crack the nut in this population, we can apply these treatments to other people.
Jeremy Szafron: Yeah, it’s a fascinating one and one that I am personally interested in. It’s interesting to see what is taking place in this field. Give us a better understanding of what you see. From what we see, stigmatization is decreasing across the states and it seems like people are more open to things that might be less known.
Dr. Rakesh Jetly: I think the stigma thing is a great question. One of the things we realized in the Canadian Armed Forces is, as you reduce stigma, more people will come forward for care. This is fantastic, but this increases the need-care gap.
More people will need valuable resources that people are not having. Then, the non-response and frustration of trial and error, or “treatment for life” obviously, even if it works, very much ties up the professionals. The idea of treatment for 15 or 16 weeks, 1 or 2 doses of a traditional medication and some psychotherapy, we are almost able to use the term “cure” where we rarely use this word because we are usually just helping people to manage or control their problems.
I think the stigma for PTSD and depression going down is fantastic, but it puts more pressure on us to find efficient and effective treatments and to make sure the resources are there. The stigma against psychedelic medications, I think that’s the other fantastic thing, is that we have done it in the right way by going into the mainstream universities. We are in the universities (such as Hopkins, University of Ottawa, King’s College etc.) and we have gone away from the farmhouses and ranches and we have come into the mainstream.
To disrupt the medical community, you have to do good quality studies and satisfy the people reading the papers and make sure you go through the ethics, the proper process and so I think that is helping as well. We ultimately want our own doctor to say “hey, this might work for you” and not clinics with neon lights saying “come see us”. We want to take it from this fringe to the mainstream and I think this is the only way to do it.
Jeremy Szafron: It’s an interesting one. You’ve been driving this team and it’s been remarkable to watch some of these studies and trials go into play and then see the results as well. Through your experience, how exciting of an opportunity is this?
Dr. Rakesh Jetly: This is a game-changer. I think it is. Our plan was kind of held up with COVID, but we want to do a lot of neuroimaging and biomarkers and isolate what changes the brain. Why does one psychedelic experience make someone so receptive to therapeutic ideas, when sometimes these people are in psychotherapy for 15 years. Somehow, something is changing their perception of themselves, the world, and past history, and we want to capture that. Again, to add to the legitimacy of this approach.
Jeremy Szafron: We have seen how quickly this industry has been going over the past year or two. Over the next 3-6 months what do you think will happen?
Dr. Rakesh Jetly: I think across the board, many companies will do two things. Lots of clinical trials, well studied and well run trials so that the evidence is there. At the same time, there will be a bio-pharma component to it. Right now our treatment protocols are slaved to the biology of the medication, for example, the experience lasts several hours. Because of this, psychotherapy is several hours of keeping them safe.
This means a friendly race to develop the next molecules, shorter half-lives, the best side effects, etc. The type of funding recently was to develop a psychedelic that is still effective but has less of the psychedelic experience. Imagine a day when we could have a one-hour MDMA with few side effects, that someone could take in the waiting room before their session, and then it wears off and they can safely go home.
The other element is that we are going to prove the safety of these. It won’t be a pill that you take for your entire life. We will create a gap for professionals (social workers, therapists, psychologists, etc.) that will take years to come up. We have to provide solid training and also get professionals to be comfortable seeing people who are under the influence of these medications. Once you prove something works, more and more people want it. We don’t want waiting lists. We want qualified people and enough of the product.
Jeremy Szafron: Well, you have a lot of eyes on you. Thank you for your time.
Dr. Rakesh Jetly: Thank you very much. It was my pleasure.