The post A Look at Filament Health: Company Profile and CEO Interview appeared first on Microdose.
The psychedelic medicine industry is growing by leaps and bounds. From groundbreaking studies to NASDAQ IPOs, the sector seems to deliver an almost endless stream of newsworthy headlines. But it’s more than just the big players because beyond the MindMed’s and ATAI’s is an ever-growing contingent of promising startups looking to make their mark on the space.
On June 24th, Vancouver-based Filament Health began trading on the NEO Exchange. The news came less than a week after ATAI’s big debut and a day after another newcomer, Awakn Life Sciences, listed on the NEO. The announcement came in a bit under the radar, so we decided to take a closer look and see what the company was up to.
Here a company profile and highlights from our talk with Filament Health CEO Ben Lightburn.
Filament Health: the elevator pitch
Not to give away the ending, but our talk with Filament CEO Ben Lightburn was informative and full of pleasant surprises. But let’s start at the beginning.The CEO and co-founder, as well as other company executives, have backgrounds in natural botanical extraction, an experience that led them to Filament and its mission statement. It also allowed the team to self-fund Filament for the first year or so (using proceeds from the sale of their extraction company).
After some introductions and preliminaries, we got down to business. “Give me your 1-minute elevator pitch,” I said.
“We saw the rise of the psychedelic industry and found it curious that there wasn’t anyone seriously focused on the natural side. These are after all-natural compounds from the natural world. Many companies are focused on chemical synthesis, and although there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, we believe it leaves something to be desired…” answered CEO Ben Lightburn.
Filament’s website does promote itself as the world’s leading exclusively natural psychedelic drug discovery and extraction technology company.
“People want natural products, not more synthetic. You don’t take caffeine pills instead of a cup of coffee. And if the trend of going natural can help more people adopt psychedelics, then more people will have the chance to get their benefits.”
And finishing the introductory company story…
“From our unique combination of experience and expertise (in the natural extraction world), we saw ourselves as duty-bound to apply this experience to psychedelics and present a company that could be the champion of the natural option.”
Product diversity and development options
“Seems like a quick road to going public,” I commented, as we discussed their recent listing to the NEO.“We did go public quite quickly, although it wasn’t that quick compared to others in the psychedelic space. And we made sure to reach some significant milestones before making the move.”
And this is where we began to dig into Filament’s surprisingly impressive results to date. Some highlights:
- They’ve earned their Health Canada Dealer’s License for psilocybin (with plans to expand the license to other substances)
- They’ve built an in-house GMP 3500 sq ft manufacturing facility, currently growing and extracting magic mushrooms, with 20 strains being studied for yields, etc.
- A natural psychedelics IP portfolio with several patents filed
- 2 FDA-registered clinical trials, in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco
Filament’s Health Canada Dealer’s Licence along with their manufacturing facility will allow them to not only cheaply supply their own trials and internal studies but will give them the opportunity to supply the trials for other companies in the space, a potential source of near-term revenue. Filament’s manufacturing team can already produce approx 5000 high doses of psilocybin per month.
Then there’s the clinical trials, the most important metric for long-term biotech success. Filament has two FDA trials about to get underway, with some interesting twists.
PEX020 & PEX030
This trial examines a proprietary hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms that is not psilocybin. Filament has identified a non-psilocybin compound with potential therapeutic benefits and will measure it against psilocybin in this study. Potentially very interesting if it works. Phase 1 is planned to start this summer.
This study looks at their proprietary oral compound of psilocybin for Major Depressive Disorder but uses ketamine as the placebo control substance. This is the first time ketamine will be used as a control and will help with “expectation bias” for the trial participants. If successful this could add some serious legitimacy to their results. Planned to start Phase 2 in the fall.
“We want to extract the natural range of products from these plants and fungi species. There might be a reason why nature evolved them over millions of years this way. And there’s no rule that psilocybin is the only or best molecule found in mushrooms. Natural extraction provides the best opportunity to identify new compounds, and assess whether naturally occurring combinations provide therapeutic benefits compared to single or synthesized options.”
Unbiased journalistic integrity aside, Filament seems to be building an impressive pipeline, with product diversity and breadth of development options. So far so good for such a relative newcomer to space; there are many companies that go public with a lot less in their developmental hopper.
Check out the company’s investor’s presentation here and stay tuned to Microdose for more coverage.