Rounding out the coverage from our last Psychedelic Capital event, is a look at the panel sponsored by Zeifmans. This was a panel that sort of defied the usual classification. It was a roundtable discussion with some of the industry’s top minds, giving insights into a variety of topics.
Trying to summarize it would not do it justice, so we’ll let their words do the talking. Here are excerpts from the wonderful panel.
First a look at the speakers…
Laurence W. Zeifman
Partner, Zeifmans LLP
Larry Zeifman has almost four decades of experience auditing and advising public and private companies. Larry served as the firm’s Managing Partner from 1988 until 2009 and continues to serve on its management committee. Larry’s clients rely on his advice on a range of domestic financial matters, as well as issues relating to the global corporate environment. He leads the Zeifmans’ Cannabis and Psychedelics Team.
Director, Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE)
Ms. Serin has more than 20 years of experience in securities and corporate finance. She has an unwavering passion, perseverance and commitment to the capital markets and investment industry. Prior to joining the Canadian Securities Exchange, she ran her own advisory firm assisting growth and startup public companies with their corporate governance and capital raising needs.
An experienced Corporate Director and CEO, Doug has chaired the Board of a NASDAQ-listed company and, as CEO for the past 12 years, has built and turned around 3 pharmaceutical companies.
Chief Operating Officer, PurMinds NeuroPharma
Susan Chapelle EMBA, is an inventive leader with a highly successful career building business, leading as a two-term elected politician, and influencing changes that improve organizations and emergent industries. Susan has scaled businesses in healthcare, technology, cannabis, and psychedelics. She is the Chief Operating Officer at PurMinds BioPharma.
And now some highlights from the panel…
Anna Serin: This is a great cross-section of people and hopefully we can get into some good dialogue. I think the one question that comes up for me most of the time is this question comparing psychedelics and cannabis is a question that comes up a lot. I know there are some similarities, but there are lots of very big differences. Larry. Let’s start off with you.
Can you kind of touch on what the big differences or similarities might be?
Larry Zeifman: Sure, I really don’t see them very similar except for the fact that people migrated from one into the other. I see cannabis especially in Canada as being very focused on recreational and distribution. While I see psychedelics is really a pharma play. The potential for real innovations in mental health treatment is fascinating in psychedelics and I don’t think we’ve seen that sort of efficacy and in cannabis on the medical side that we’re going to see in psychedelics. I think just the focus on clinical results that we’re seeing of late in psychedelics and some of the movements as a result of clinical developments have been huge and of course, that doesn’t really happen in cannabis. And from a capital market standpoint, it’s much more focused on the science, the business, and the capital markets.”
Anna Serin: So how else are psychedelics different? Sure there’s health care and pharmaceutical side. There’s going to be some dramatic difference. What are you seeing that’s different with psychedelics as they come to market within the healthcare scope?
Doug Drysdale: What events like Wonderland really brought home to me just how fragmented the industry still is. Many, many companies, largely doing very similar or the same things. So I think that’s going to lead to some need for differentiation over the coming 12 – 24 months, and it’s inevitably going to lead to some market efficiencies and consolidation. I think there’s no doubt to me that access to capital will be challenging the IP landscape and will see fewer companies a year from now, and two years from now then we do today. But maybe stronger companies. That’s not a bad thing.
How is this different from traditional pharmaceuticals? Well, in the steps that you have to go through to develop a drug. Not much different. But I think where the challenges lie are in the design of clinical studies. These clinical studies are or for the most part combined with psychotherapy or some form of support program. So there’s a need then to design studies that incorporate those.
So we’ve got a lot of infrastructure building to do before we can really support large scale clinical studies. But the overall process. Other than that, I think it’s pretty similar
Anna Serin: You’ve raised capital over the years. Are you seeing an appetite for this in psychedelics that’s a bit more unique?
Doug Drysdale: Well, I think it’s changing. I’d say if you go back a year ago there was a lot of hunger and interest in new companies starting and many biotech funds invested, not wanting to miss out on the opportunity. And so there was a bit of a capital rush. I’d say that it’s matured fairly rapidly in the last year, so you’ve seen the companies differentiate. I think the hurdles now for an IPO in the space are higher than they were a year ago. Companies need a strong team. They need IP. IThere’s a need to differentiate because there are so many companies already up and running and I think that the IP route might be more challenging now, then perhaps partnering with an existing company that has the capital.
I think the sector is still behaving largely like a 5 year old soccer game with everyone chasing the same ball. I think you’ll start to see individual companies pulling away from the pack and behaving more like individual stocks.
Anna Serin: Obviously the regulatory framework in the space is incredibly important. This one is a bit of a unique one, and Susan I know you have a background in politics. What do you think needs to happen? What’s the catalyst? Or is it all this capital that’s being raised for these companies that will help push and drive the regulatory framework around psychedelics?
Susan Chapelle: That’s a fantastic question. I’m totally biased towards operations. Licensing is an essential part of the infrastructure and fabric of psychedelics and the systems that we saw. I see some questions in the chat that talk about the legacy market and cannabis, and in cannabis we definitely had all levels of business infrastructure delivery systems and it was not done extremely well. I know because I had a health care practice where my cancer patients had no access to these plant medicines and there was no place for them to safely access or properly dose. We created an incredibly top down political infrastructure, the feds legalized without any conversations with municipalities. The provinces created inaccurate delivery systems and made delivery extremely expensive for medicine.
There’s been some incredible research in psychedelics. But we are still providing safety and efficacy studies and one study does not efficacy make. There is incredibly promising data coming out and loosening prohibition by government agencies like we see with ballot measure 109 in Oregon. But that’s decriminalization. That’s still not equitable and accessible medicine for those patients that need it for end of life treatment. You cannot become a company and neglect the policy and regulatory environment that psychedelics are still in full prohibition. There’s no context for patients without applying for a Section 56 license, and this isn’t an inequitable way to provide medicine to the masses….
Like I said, a dynamic panel covering a variety of topics. Click here to see the full recording and get a transcript.
Thanks to all our speakers and sponsors and see you at the next event.psychedelics psychedelic ipo stocks cse nasdaq psychedelic capital cybin decriminalization research legalized