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Company Will Test Psychedelic for Treatment of Opioid Addiction

September 20, 2019

A Toronto-based company is looking to have an impact on the treatment of opioid addiction by exploring the potential of psychedelics, an area of study that to this point has seen more intense activity in the mental health field.

Mind Medicine Inc. (Mindmed) announced this week that it has acquired the drug development program for 18-MC (18-methoxycoronaridine), a synthetic derivative of the psychedelic drug ibogaine. The company is preparing 18-MC for a Phase II clinical trial examining its effects in the treatment of opioid use disorder.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) had funded the 18-MC drug development program for the previous owner, Savant HWP Inc., in 2012, with that leading to one clinical trail of the drug.

Researchers developed 18-MC in 1996 to mitigate the hallucinogenic effects of ibogaine while maintaining its therapeutic properties. Mindmed officials said this week that they also intend to address addiction by developing new versions of other psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin.

There have been inroads in understanding the potential role of psychedelics in mental health treatment, although a recent literature review suggested that better-designed studies are needed to give a full assessment of psychedelics' potential.

“We believe that hallucinogenic therapies have great merit and benefits for treating addiction,” Mind Medicine co-founder JR Rahn said in a news release. Rahn added, “We feel there is an immense opportunity to create next-gen versions of psychedelics for approval as FDA drugs.”

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