Expert: Psilocybin Is Like Penicillin for the Brain, Rewiring It to Generate New Neurological Pathways

Michael Frank, CEO of Revive Therapeutics, and Derrick Welsh, COO of Psilocin Pharma, a division of Revive Therapeutics, discuss clinical research investigating novel treatment targets for psilocybin, such as treatment-resistant depression in patients with cancer.

Pharmacy Times interviewed Michael Frank, CEO of Revive Therapeutics, and Derrick Welsh, COO of Psilocin Pharma, a division of Revive Therapeutics, on the progress of current psychedelic therapeutic development and clinical programs with a focus on psilocybin and its potential use in novel treatment targets, such as for patients who have experienced a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) or patients with cancer experiencing treatment-resistant depression.

Welsh explained that at the early stages, research focused on anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder, such as for methamphetamine use disorder specifically.

“Psilocybin shows a lot of potential to be able to rewire the brain and generate new neurological pathways. It's presented this opportunity in not only concussion therapy but stroke and TBI as well as addictions and mental health,” Welsh said. “We've seen a lot of significant gains in this space as a direct result of the research that was done by [John Hopkins University]. They showed a lot of promise for psilocybin and MDMA specifically for medication-resistant depression in cancer patients.”

Welsh noted these results seem to signal that investigators may be going down the right path with their research exploring the potentially expansive uses of this compound.

“Very much like how penicillin can treat a multitude of infectious diseases, we're seeing that now psilocybin portrays very similar qualities for the treatment of mental health, addictions, and things of that nature,” Welsh said.

During the discussion, Frank and Welsh also explained the current status of clinical studies assessing novel uses for psilocybin, a potential timeline around when phase 3 data may be available, the value of a biosynthetic platform for psilocybin production, and what the future may hold for psychedelic medicine development.

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