While interest in the psychedelic drug development business is beginning to pick up, one Australia-based advocate said it’s still very early in the country.

In an interview with the Investing News Network (INN) Peter Hunt, chairman of Mind Medicine Australia, shared his expectations for the development of the psychedelics industry in Australia as the sector begins to accelerate in North America.

Mind Medicine Australia, which is not related to the Canadian psychedelics firm Mind Medicine (NEO:MMED), is a research and advocacy non-profit group looking to expand the conversation surrounding this alternative drug opportunity.

Hunt knows a thing or two about investment opportunities having retired in 2018 from a 37 year career in investment banking with Greenhill, which he co-founded.

“We’re all about developing the ecosystem down here so that these medicines can become available to Australians who need them. Irrespective of the wealth of the Australian, savings or whatnot, we want them to be broadly available through the medical system,” he said.

Treating mental health conditions with psychedelics

Hunt is passionate about the opportunity psychedelic medicines offer in treating various mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Speaking recently at an online seminar designed to give investors a sense of the opportunity attached to psychedelics, Hunt said one in five Australian adults currently faces a chronic mental health illness, representing approximately 4.8 million people.

Hunt told INN he has not seen attacks against the psychedelic drug industry, which has greatly surprised him. Overall, there is much enthusiasm surrounding the potential of these drugs and the investment opportunity attached to the industry.

However, he has seen trepidation attached to a need for more data.

“We always need more research, but the problem is, when you’ve got lots of people suffering … you can keep doing research, but at some stage, you’ve got to say … let’s just start using (psychedelic medicines) in a safe environment with safe protocols and try and help people,” Hunt said.

Australian psychedelics market still young

When it comes to the investment landscape in the Australian psychedelics market compared to the space in Canada, Hunt said Australia still has a long way to go.

“It really is early days, and I think investors are just trying to understand the facts and the data,” he said.

When asked about the potential for a public listing of a psychedelics company in the Australian market, Hunt said it could very well happen before the end of the year.

“It’s probably going to be later this year, or sometime next year,” he said to INN. “I think it’s definitely going to happen.”

Roadblocks attached to research will see a shot in validity once a larger institution, such as a university, becomes a partner attached to a study with these medicines, Hunt said.

While he couldn’t confirm specific details at the time, Hunt said there are advanced discussions between his group and an Australian university to set up an official research partnership, which he said would be a huge boost for the growth of the sector in the country.

“Universities extend knowledge, and I think we’re just touching the surface in terms of just how powerful psychedelic medicine can be across a whole range of mental illnesses,” he said.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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