Magic mushroom therapy could reap billions; Chinese drugmakers look overseas (2024)

Magic mushroom therapy could reap billions; Chinese drugmakers look overseas (1)

The effect of psilocybin on the brain.
Source: Compass Pathways PLC

Magic mushrooms could reap a harvest of billions of dollars if psilocybin is approved to treat severe depression, leading to a host of other applications.

Mental health disorders including anorexia, bipolar type II depression, body dysmorphic disorder and chronic cluster headaches are the next targets for the treatment, known as COMP360, being developed by Nasdaq-listed COMPASS Pathways PLC. Psilocybin is derived from the active compound found in magic mushrooms and first synthesized by Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann in 1958. It is the only medicine in the London and New York-based company's pipeline, but the company intends to expand to other psychedelics in time, CEO George Goldsmith told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The lack of meaningful advances in treating a host of psychiatric disorders and addictions by conventional pharmaceutical companies sparked a renewed interest in psilocybin in the 1990s at academic institutions including Johns Hopkins University and Imperial College London. In 2016, researchers at Imperial carried out the first-ever study into the effects of psilocybin using modern brain imaging.

"All my work in depression and other disorders has come from the brain imaging: We showed that, to our amazement, this drug switches off the parts of the brain that we know are overactive in depression," David Nutt, Edmond J. Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial, said in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence. "The clinical effects are profound and that meant Compass got interested."

Magic mushroom extract could reap billions as evidence for psychedelics grows

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Magic mushroom therapy could reap billions; Chinese drugmakers look overseas (2)

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Magic mushroom therapy could reap billions; Chinese drugmakers look overseas (3)

Horizon Therapeutics CEO Tim Walbert
Source: Horizon Therapeutics

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Magic mushroom therapy could reap billions; Chinese drugmakers look overseas (2024)

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