Curious investors were able to hear firsthand about the burgeoning psychedelics industry during the first Prohibition Partners LIVE event.
At the inaugural Prohibition Partners LIVE event, psychedelic drugs made a big splash.
Prohibition Partners is a research group that publishes reports on the latest developments in the cannabis industry. And while cannabis dominated the online forum, the business potential of psychedelics created conversations around this new space.
Adele Byrne, senior analyst with Prohibition Partners, kicked off the discussion around psychedelics by confirming the group’s interest in the market with upcoming studies dedicated exclusively to the space.
Those will follow the group’s initial March report examining the psychedelics industry, and Byrne said the team will continue to work on their market analysis for the sector.
Medical potential a key driver of interest
The talks at the event included some of the established early leaders in the psychedelics market — one of the biggest guests was Bruce Linton, former CEO of Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED). He is now an advisor for Mind Medicine (MindMed) (NEO:MMED) and an investor in the psychedelics sector.
Linton has been a vocal supporter of the psychedelic drug industry, and is a larger figure commanding attention from investors given his role in the augmentation of the Canadian cannabis public markets.
“It’s always an allocation game, and I think being an investor in the market right now is a very good idea … I think that it’s a good time to be an investor, but it’s not a good time to put all your investments in today, you need to be able to follow up with some,” Linton said.
The ex-cannabis executive said he’s interested in the psychedelics industry given its potential to provide alternative treatments for health issues that aren’t being met with appropriate relief.
One of the most unique organizations in the psychedelics industry is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a non-profit group that is responsible for putting together one of the most advanced studies in the entire sector.
Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of MAPS, explained the US Food and Drug Administration is open to engaging with the psychedelic drug maker industry given the medical potential these drugs have.
Doblin said the federal agency is willing to put science over politics when it comes to psychedelics, which is evidenced by the medical authority’s engagement with clinical studies.
The benefits of going public
JR Rahn, founder and CEO of MindMed, spoke at length with Stephen Murphy, group managing director with Prohibition Partners, about his involvement with the industry and the transition process he underwent originally coming from a tech investing background.
As one of the first big debuts in the capital markets, MindMed launched on the NEO Exchange in March, and Rahn pointed to the key benefits that going public has brought to his company.
When asked about the path for the adoption of psychedelic medicines once trials are successful, Rahn said that there’s a long educational process ahead for both patients and doctors to combat the stigma associated with psychedelic drugs.
In a panel conversation, Doblin explained that it will be important to train and prepare medical workers so that they are ready for psychedelic drug demand.
Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian investor and a judge on the business show Shark Tank, signed up as an early stage backer of MindMed and has pointed to the medical-only approach the company is taking as the key reason it obtained his money.
The decision to go public was motivated by MindMed’s plan to build out a robust portfolio of clinical trials investigating the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs, Rahn said.
“Going public, to me, was not even a question,” the MindMed executive said. “We needed to do it, we needed to build a platform that could develop these medicines and get them to patients.”
As part of the conversation around public listings, Champignon Brands (CSE:SHRM,OTCQB:SHRMF) CEO Dr. Roger McIntyre said investors need to be ready for a rush of company pitches and available deals. He warned there will be shady players attempting to pass off as experts on the industry, and investors need to be aware not to fall for just any opportunity.
Market participants often point to the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs as a top reason why supporting this industry will be valuable. But for one executive it’s also a personal effort.
Rahn was candid about the path that led him to the industry during a panel at the online event. He told the audience about his own struggles with addiction and mental health and how these challenges were the foundation that eventually took him to launch MindMed.
“There needed to be a company that could take this broader approach to how we look at mental health and not just look at a single mental illness like depression or anxiety as a one-off.
“How do we look at creating a new paradigm and a new approach to how we deal with these issues? That’s really what motivates me, looking at the interconnectedness of mental health solutions and how we get those and deliver those to the world.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.