As MYND Life Sciences (CSE: MYND) Readies To Go Public, We Could See An Overdue Revolution In Treating Depression
- The current way we treat depression is not adequate. According to the WHO, about 264 million people are struggling with depression in the world today, with roughly $1T spent per year on it around the world.
- One of the major ways we treat depression today is through SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). However, they focus more on suppressing symptoms than addressing root causes. Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen very little innovation and growth.
- About 13% of Americans aged 12+ are currently on medications, such as Zoloft or Prozac, to treat depression.
- Major investors with strong track records like Kevin O’Leary and Peter Thiel are investing heavily into psychedelics. O’Leary says, “This is a brand new area of medicine with such incredible potential,” and that “The potential of psychedelics far exceeds the potential of cannabis…What interested me is the scale and size of the market… These opportunities have been ignored ever since the 1960s.”
- MYND Life Sciences is a biotech company focused on neuro-pharmaceutical drug development and advancing psychedelic derived medicines based on neuro-anti inflammatory substances.
- MYND has several clinical trials in the works looking to commence by Q4 2021, drug development programs, and an LOI signed with a vaccine producer to fight MDD.
- The company is not yet actively trading. However, it has received conditional approval to list its common shares on the CSE.
- The founders of MYND Life Sciences, Dr. Wilfred Jefferies and Dr. Lyle Oberg may be the company’s secret weapon. Dr. Jefferies is a world-renowned neuroimmunologist, and Dr. Oberg has been instrumental in taking the company public.
Have you ever watched Shark Tank before?
One of the superstar and most memorable sharks on the show is Kevin O’Leary. The self-proclaimed “Mr. Wonderful” has a voice that carries some weight, considering he sold an EdTech company to Mattel for about $4.2 billion during the height of the dot-com boom in 1999.
But, the best part about Mr. Wonderful is how he never holds back and is as blunt and upfront as they come. He will not hesitate to call out a contestant on Shark Tank, and flat all call them or their idea moronic or stupid.
That’s why his thoughts on psilocybin and psychedelics hold significant value. Furthermore, O’Leary is a middle-aged Canadian and not who you would think of as a psychedelics bull.
So what’s making O’Leary’s mouth water so much about psychedelics?
“This is a brand new area of medicine with such incredible potential,” he says. “The potential of psychedelics far exceeds the potential of cannabis…What interested me is the scale and size of the market…These opportunities have been ignored ever since the 1960s.”
Legendary venture capitalist Peter Thiel, aka PayPal’s founder and Facebook’s first angel, is also heavily involved in the space now. He’s investing nearly $210 million to back a Berlin-based psychedelics start-up, ATAI Life Sciences.
A psychedelics firm called MYND Life Sciences (CSE: MYND) may be the next big growth story in this field. Although it is not actively trading yet, MYND recently filed and obtained a receipt for its final non-offering prospectus from the British Columbia Securities Commission, and also has received conditional approval to list the company’s common shares on the CSE.
We could be days away from this happening, and it’s essential to learn about this company now before the rest of the world gets tipped off once it starts trading.
Who is MYND Life Sciences (CSE: MYND), and What Problems is it Solving?
MYND Life Sciences is a disruptive biotech company. It’s focused on neuro-pharmaceutical drug development and advancing psychedelic derived medicines based on neuro-anti inflammatory substances through rigorous science and clinical trials with an initial focus on Major Depressive Disorder.
MYND’s mission is to continue to link depression and inflammation at the genetic and cellular level to develop a treatment, a diagnostic tool, and a preventative vaccine utilizing compounds found in psychedelics.
(Source: Corporate Presentation May 2021)
The fact of the matter is that MYND is positioned at the right place at the right time. Mental health globally has deteriorated, and existing treatments do not seem to be working. After all, the WHO claims depression and anxiety contribute to roughly $1T per year in costs worldwide.
Thanks to the pandemic, it doesn’t look like this is getting any better either. Approximately 13% of people in the United States aged 12+ are currently on antidepressants, with Zoloft being added to the FDA’s list of drugs in shortage due to high demand.
Furthermore, nearly 264 million people are struggling with depression. This figure falls somewhere between the total populations of Indonesia and Pakistan- the 4th and 5th most populous countries in the world.
But the worst part? Current ways of treating depression are simply not working. The majority of antidepressants are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These treatments suppress the symptoms rather than confront the root cause head-on.
Over the last two decades, SSRIs have really not changed or improved either. As a result, we are seeing little innovation and have reached a point of stagnation.
The Guardian echoes this by claiming that “the number of psychopharmacological drugs research programs in larger drug firms has shrunk by 70% in the past decade.” (Source 5)
We are in desperate need of a revolution in this field, and companies like MYND Life Sciences may be the answer to our prayers.
Want to hear a first-hand account of why MYND is so essential? Listen to the story of former NHL enforcer Daniel Carcillo. Carcillo, now the CEO of Wesana Health, said that as a result of traumatic brain injuries he endured as an undersized enforcer, he was on the verge of suicide.
“Nothing worked,” Carcillo said. “I started to make plans to underburden my family and take my own life. I thought I had tried everything.”
But this all changed once Carcillo discovered various mushroom-based alternative medical treatments for inflammation and wellness, such as Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, and psilocybin. In fact, Carcillo credits psilocybin for saving his life.
Carcillo said that the day after he took psilocybin, he woke up feeling “normal” for the first time in years. Then, over two weeks, his symptoms gradually lessened before “all but fading away.”
What Does MYND Life Sciences Have In The Pipeline?
2021 could be a game-changing year for the company. The core business of MYND comes from founder Dr. Wilfred Jefferies’s research over the last 10 years around how psilocybin modulates biomarkers in the brain. One of the things they’ve found is how depression is an illness caused by inflammation and how psilocybin interacts with the body to reduce inflammation as a byproduct of reducing depression.
Inflammation affects depression so much that there is actually a correlation and similar disease process with rheumatoid arthritis.
The genetic pathway that leads to it was studied. The gene identified turning m1 macrophages into m2 macroph, from pro to anti-inflammatory states in HOURS instead of days/weeks/years.
By using these revolutionary findings, MYND is embarking on 6 different clinical trials by Q4 2021- one in Australia, one in the U.S., and four in Canada. On the company’s deck, they specified the following trials due to commence:
- A clinical trial to address a novel marker for diagnosing and monitoring, both qualitatively and quantitatively, depression in response to psilocybin treatment and various psychedelics.
- A clinical trial to address the therapeutic impact of psilocybin and psilocybin analogs as anti-inflammatories in diminishing cytokine storm-related to COVID.
- A clinical trial to address the therapeutic impact of psilocybin and psilocybin analogs on depression in patients with confirmed health predicament-related conditions.
- A clinical trial to address the therapeutic effect of psilocybin with Sepsis.
MYBD is also embarking on an MYND-604 drug development program for major depressive disorder (MDD). This program for MDD is being developed to treat MDD and bring much-needed innovation to the antiquated multi-billion dollar SSRI market. Again, this is a severe, unmet medical need.
The goal with this program is as follows:
- To address significant unmet needs in the management of MDD. If handled successfully, it would be expected to reduce overall illness-associated morbidity.
- To identify which patients with MDD will respond to/tolerate (or not) antidepressant therapies (ie. Personalized medicine).
- Identify treatments that are more (or less) likely to achieve provider-and patient-desired outcomes in MDD.
- Utilize treatments capable of attenuating critical dimension/domain-based outcomes in MDD.
- Utilize treatments that can rapidly attenuate depressive symptoms.
Additionally, MYND is working on a MYND-778 drug development program. MYND-778 is being developed as an oral dosage form of psilocybin for the treatment of Sepsis. Sepsis is a biphasic inflammatory disease characterized by an initial hyper-inflammatory phase called systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), followed by an anti-inflammatory phase called endotoxin tolerance (ET).
Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It occurs when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Without timely treatment, Sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
Sepsis, to this day, remains an unmet medical need. Intensivists have made attempt after attempt to yield improved outcomes. However, despite many attempts to introduce novel therapeutic molecules, there has been no meaningful change in survival rates.
But what could be the most groundbreaking recent move by the company, before they go public, is the LOI MYND signed with a company that makes vaccines to fight MDD.
MYND is a company to keep a very close eye on before they go public. There is ground floor potential for this cutting-edge firm at the center of what could be the most significant medical breakthrough of a generation. However, the psychedelic sector remains in its infancy with risks. Furthermore, the company is still not actively trading, which poses risks of its own. As an investor, though, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of a company such as this and do your due diligence.
1. Psilocybin is still federally illegal.
Mr. Wonderful loves the sector, and so does Peter Thiel. There have been multiple encouraging clinical results of psilocybin-related trials and personal accounts of how well it works from figures such as Daniel Carcillo. But let’s pump the brakes for a second; it is still federally illegal. Yes, the upside is more significant than cannabis, but there are greater risks. Psychedelics are nowhere close to where cannabis is in terms of acceptance and legalization.
Major cities in Colorado, California, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have decriminalized entheogens and taken significant strides for legal psychedelic-assisted therapies. Health Canada has also shown to be more open-minded. However, psilocybin is still considered a Schedule I Controlled Substance, making it federally illegal to cultivate or hold for either personal consumption or distribution. That being said, the Company has confirmed access to Health Canada psilocybin research and development through exemptions granted to its Chief Science Officer, Dr. Wilfred Jefferies.
2. There’s Been a Sharp Rotation Out of Speculative Plays
Although the end of May has been an improved climate for speculative sectors, we are still in a very uncertain and volatile market. Red-hot psychedelic plays have been no stranger to the volatility. The rallies they went on between November 20-February 21 have stalled, to say the least. On the one hand, this could be a simple cool-off period, with stocks in speculative sectors at an enticing entry point. But, on the other hand, this could be a long-term trend for the rest of 2021, as inflation fears persist and hiking interest rates become a topic of conversation. This is something to be very mindful of.
Meet MYND Life Sciences Strong Management Team
The founders of MYND Life Sciences, Dr. Wilfred Jefferies and Dr. Lyle Oberg, might be the company’s secret weapon. As more and more psychedelic companies look to stake their claim, this duo could set MYND apart from the pack.
In fact, Dr. Jefferies is a world-renowned Neuro-immunologist with over 60 patents and 100 publications in prestigious medical journals, including Nature and The Lancet. Over the last decade or so, he’s also conducted cutting-edge research on how psilocybin modulates biomarkers in the brain. In addition, Dr. Oberg, who joined the team about a year ago, brings sharp business acumen and has been instrumental in taking the company public.
Dr. Wilfred Jefferies, Co-Founder, and Chief Science Officer
Dr. Wilfred A. Jefferies earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford, followed by post-doctorates at top academic centers in Switzerland and Sweden. He was quickly recognized as a rising star by none other than Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Michael Smith who personally recruited him to his laboratory at the University of British Columbia.
There he continues to perform research today. In addition, Dr. Jefferies is recognized as a leader in the emerging field of immunotherapy. His research has resulted in new and innovative ways to use components of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, viruses and even promote brain health. Moreover, he has an uncanny ability to translate complex immunological breakthroughs into real-world medical treatments.
Dr. Jefferies is also a member of the UBC Departments of Microbiology & Immunology, Medical Genetics, and Zoology, as well as the Centre for Blood Research and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.
Dr. Lyle Oberg, Co-Founder, and Chief Executive Officer
A physician by profession, Dr. Oberg possesses extensive senior leadership, finance, and corporate governance experience. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as a Progressive Conservative in 1993. He was first appointed to the Alberta Cabinet in 1997 and served numerous posts. He launched a western Canadian initiative to address Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and implemented an interprovincial strategy to share resources and develop new and better approaches for addressing FAS.
In May 1999, Dr. Oberg was appointed Minister of Learning. He began the second language initiative in Alberta schools to give students an edge in the world marketplace. As well, he initiated the development of the daily physical activity program to improve the health of Alberta students. In 2006, Lyle Oberg was named Minister of Finance. Lyle left politics in 2008 with one of the most significant surpluses in Alberta’s history. Dr. Oberg later opened and became CEO of C2DNA, the first private DNA testing facility in Canada.
Jordan Cleland, Chief Operating Officer
Jordan Cleland is the Chief Operating Officer of MYND Life Sciences. He previously operated Jordan Cleland Consulting, a communications, public relations, fundraising, leadership coaching, and strategy practice. Cleland formerly served as Vice President, Advancement at Olds College in Alberta, Canada, where he maximized reputation and relationships with media, alumni, donors, prospective students, and governments. Jordan was presented the Gold Medal for Excellence in Leadership at the 2013 Colleges and Institutes Canada conference.
Cleland earned a Master’s in Leadership through Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Whitworth University in Washington. He furthered his management and communications expertise in obtaining certificates from York University, University of British Columbia, and Harvard/MIT. Prior roles were with the Workers’ Compensation Board, KPMG Consulting, and in the senior levels of government as a Ministerial Chief of Staff with the Government of Alberta.
Paul Ciullo, Chief Financial Officer
Paul is a 12-year veteran in senior corporate finance and accounting positions for Fortune 500 companies, including General Electric and Xerox. In addition, Paul served as the Director of Finance for Conduent Legal and Compliance Services, specializing in financial reporting and project management. Paul obtained a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from SUNY Geneseo and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of CPAs. Previously, he served on the Finance Committee for the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York.
Dr. Chaahat SB Singh, Senior Research Manager
Dr. Chaahat SB Singh has had training in microbiology, infectious diseases, and Neuroscience. She holds a BSc and an MSc (hons.) degree in Microbiology from Guru Nanak Dev University, India, and in 2019 was awarded a Ph.D. in Medical Genetics with a focus on Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders at the University of British Columbia. She has previously worked at Panacea Biotec Ltd. for downstream processing of Hepatitis B vaccine and at the Institute of Microbial Technology, India, investigating the resistance mechanism in Drug-resistant Tuberculosis.
During her Ph.D., under the supervision of Dr. Wilf Jefferies, she studied vascular dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), establishing an alternative mechanism to explain the blood-brain barrier disruption and disease pathology. She also explored the potential of antiangiogenic small molecules and biologics used in cancer therapy as novel and promising therapeutics for AD. Dr.
Singh has mentored many high school, undergraduate, and graduate students and, in the past, has been an active volunteer member of the UBC Harassment and Discrimination committee and the UBC Therapeutics Initiative. She is a team player who has had successful collaborations resulting in several peer-reviewed articles and reviews. She continues her passion for the discovery and development of therapeutics for CNS disorders in her postdoctoral research.
Dr Cheryl Pfeifer, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Cheryl Pfeifer has been involved with immunological research for over 30 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Veterinary Microbiology from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Ph.D. (1999) in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia. After completing a post-doctorate with Dr. Wilf Jefferies, she has continued to work closely with him for the past 20 years on projects ranging from Alzheimer’s disease and the blood-brain barrier to the immune escape of cancer regulation of the immune system using vaccines and small molecules.
Dr. Pfeifer is a multidisciplinary scientist with proven experience mentoring students and postdoctoral fellows and managing multi-faceted teams to achieve the research goals. In addition, she has extensive experience as a grant facilitator and a collaborative scientific researcher, with 15+ peer-reviewed publications and 4 patents.
Marie Johns, Research Manager
Marie is an incoming Medical Genetics M.Sc. candidate fascinated with the genetic basis of neurological disease and disorder. While pursuing her B.Sc. in Biology and Behavioural Neuroscience, she participated in UBC’s Co-op program, which afforded her research experience in neurogenetics labs from Vancouver, Canada, to Erlangen, Germany. She became proficient in several cellular and molecular biological techniques while studying Alcohol Use Disorder, Developmental Coordination Disorder, and cerebellar development in mouse models, hPSC-derived neural organoids, and human DNA samples.
After graduation, she supported various clinical research projects as a research assistant at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Her presentation on NIRS monitoring in scoliosis correction surgery won her an award in Anesthesiology at UBC Medicine’s 2020 APT Conference. She looks forward to applying her wealth of clinical and laboratory research experience to her work in the Jefferies Lab.
Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Mark Geyer
Mark A. Geyer Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences Emeritus at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and directs the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit of the VISN 22 Veterans Administration Mental Illness Research, Clinical, and Education Center. At UCSD, he is a founding member of the Consortium for Translational Research in Neuropsychopharmacology (CTRIN) and Translational Research in Psychophysiology, Exploration, and Cognition (TRIPEC) groups. In 1993, he co-founded the Heffter Research Institute, which pioneered and supported much of the scientific research that has prompted the exploration of psychedelics as potential therapeutics in humans. He has recently co-founded the Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative at UCSD, exploring the efficacy of psychedelics in the treatment of pain disorders.
Dr. Joseph Martin
Joseph Boyd Martin, M.D., Ph.D., Edward R., and Anne G. Lefler, Professor of Neurobiology, served as Dean of the Harvard Faculty of Medicine from 1997 to 2007. Born in Bassano, Alberta, Canada, in 1938, Dr. Martin received his premedical and medical education at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, earning the M.D. degree in 1962. He completed a residency in neurology in 1966 and a fellowship in neuropathology in 1967 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
He received his Ph. D. in anatomy from the University of Rochester in 1971. Dr. Martin began his career in academic medicine at McGill University in Montreal, where he eventually became Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery in 1977. In 1978, he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in Boston as the Bullard Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Neurology Service at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1984, he was appointed the Julieanne Dorn Professor of Neurology at Harvard. Dr. Martin’s research focused on the hypothalamic regulation of pituitary hormone secretions and neurochemical and molecular genetics to better understand the causes of neurological and neurodegenerative disease.
Dr. Michael Brownstein
Dr. Brownstein has over thirty years of research experience in the fields of genetics, endocrinology, and pharmacology. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University; completed his graduate training at the University of Chicago, where he earned an M.D. and Ph.D. in pharmacology; and received his clinical training at the Boston Children’s Hospital.
He then moved to the National Institutes of Health to work with Julius Axelrod, recipient of a Nobel Prize in 1970 for his studies in neuropharmacology. He remained at NIH after completing his fellowship. In addition, Dr. Brownstein served at the NIH as Chief of the Laboratory of Genetics of the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Human Genome Research Institute; and for two years as the Scientific Director of the NIMH Intramural Research Program.
John Trowsdale is an Emeritus Professor, a specialist in Immunogenetics, in the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge UK. In the early 1980’s he was one of the first to clone HLA genes and complete sequencing of the entire HLA region. In addition, in collaboration with Stephan Beck at the Sanger Center, he provided sequenced common HLA haplotypes, which were used as ‘gold-standard’ references.
John’s interest in GenDx is in the further development of rapid genetic analysis of highly variable genes such as HLA and KIR in human diseases, such as infection, autoimmunity, cancer, and pregnancy disorders. The link with GenDx is of mutual benefit in driving forward the use of next-generation sequencing techniques to achieve rapid and accurate immunogenetic analysis. John visits GenDx to discuss how the development of novel techniques at GenDx benefits the research and health care communities.
Takeaway for investors
MYND is as strong of a play as you could ask for before psychedelics truly rocket to the mainstream as a viable and robust treatment for depression. The upside potential is evident to everyone from Kevin O’Leary, to Peter Thiel, to Robinhood investors who can’t get enough of the sector. But this is a sector only for those with an iron stomach. The up days will be parties, and the down days will crush your spirits. But in such a growth sector with tremendous upside, learning about an obscure stock BEFORE it goes public is the holy grail.
The FDA has already called psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy.” Of course, more dominoes could eventually fall from here, and once MYND goes public, all bets are off. Time will tell what happens with the market and speculative sectors. But judging by the company’s founders and what it’s got cooking in its pipeline, this is not something you will possibly want to overthink or sit out on.