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Around the world, 50 million people currently suffer from dementia, making it a massive unmet medical need and a prime target for new therapeutics. The team at Return Health recognizes this and is focusing their efforts to eradicate dementia through developing psychedelic treatments for neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Their CEO, James Kuo, offered significant insight into progress during his talk at our event. Here are three key takeaways from the Return Health presentation at the June Psychedelic Capital.
Key Takeaway #1: Return Health Was Launched to Develop Effective Treatments for Dementia
Psychedelic medicine is rapidly aiming to fill massive unmet medical needs in the current healthcare industry. Return Health is taking a hard-line, evidence-based approach to treating dementia. Their CEO, James Kuo, describes dementia as “an umbrella term for a set of symptoms centered around the cognitive decline, significantly greater than what is to be expected from normal aging.” While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, Kuo states that it is more than just Alzheimer’s they are out to treat. In describing how debilitating dementia truly is, Kuo states that “dementia is an insidious disease that robs us of our humanity. Patients gradually lose their friends, all their memories, the ability to work or enjoy life, and the ability to live independently.” Kuo goes on to state that no effective treatments currently exist and asks, “What could be worse than that?” Indeed, his team’s passion to treat this serious neurological condition certainly seems to inspire their progress.
Key Takeaway #2: Return Health’s CEO is Highly Experienced & Skilled
When it comes to successful and experienced psychedelic leadership teams, Return Health has the right people for the job. Kuo, who is a physician from the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, has 25 years of drug development experience and brings deep insights and strong experience to the table. He also has serious experience as a venture capitalist has been the managing director of Healthcare Ventures, which managed 378 million dollars across 30 portfolio companies. Kuo was also the co-founder and CEO of Tryp Therapeutics, a psychedelics company focused on treating eating disorders and chronic pain. With all that already under his belt, Kuo brings deep experience, important insights, and essential expertise to lead the Return Health team.
Key Takeaway #3: Dementia Has Serious Costs to Society & Presents a Lucrative Market Opportunity
Kuo highlights the “tremendous clinical need” that treating dementia presents. He stated that Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia cost the US over $600 billion annually—a staggering figure. With companies like Biogen launching the first Alzheimer’s drug to be approved in 20 years (and annually priced at $56,000 for the treatment), it is clear that dementia treatment presents a significant opportunity. Kuo referenced the recent Compass Pathways study which suggested psilocybin improves cognitive function—results that are also relevant to the team at Return Health. As they work towards developing the next generation of therapeutics for dementia treatment, the Return Health team is targeting an important treatment gap in the healthcare space.
A Look Ahead for Return Health
Currently, the Return Health team is working to close its round of seed funding. CEO Kuo and his team are passionate and dedicated to helping the millions of people who suffer from dementia around the globe. Kuo’s mission to profoundly impact people’s lives positively by treating dementia is a noble one and a core driver of their team’s success.psilocybin psychedelic therapeutics psychedelics funding psychedelic capital tryp therapeutics compass tryp