Last week, The Dales Report caught up with Kelsey Ramsden, CEO of MINDCURE Health (CSE: MCUR) for the first time this fall to talk about the company’s latest endeavour: a first-of-its-kind study that will target a disorder affecting 9.5 million American women.
Yesterday, the company announced the launch of the Desire Project, a clinical research program that will focus on the treatment of female hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, a condition that may occur in up to one third of adult women in the U.S., and is characterized by a deficiency or absence of desire for sexual activity. Specifically, the program will utilize MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. The program is the first to look at psychedelics and HSDD.
Ramsden notes that the MINDCURE team has been working on the Desire Project for the better part of six months: “A program like this takes a lot of time, particularly if you want to get the best-in-class advisors, and it takes time to bring those people on your team,” she says.
“Not only that, to design a protocol. When we’re talking about sex, desire, women, and psychedelics, a lot of thoughtfulness goes into designing a program that you believe will get through the regulatory process, with all the nuance and thoughtfulness that has to go into treating something like this.”
Why HSDD Deserves Research
First thing’s first: Men reading or watching the interview with Ramsden shouldn’t be put off by the subject matter, especially because it’s “for women only.”
“There are a lot of drugs on the market for men [for] desire and sexuality,” she says, but for women, there are just two, and “they don’t work tremendously well.” (More on that below).
Further, women who suffer from lack of desire are often convinced that they ought to chalk those feelings up to “something that comes with age,” and as a result, they often don’t seek treatment. According to Ramsden, 40 percent of premenopausal women experience an extended lack of desire, while 14 percent experience it to the degree that it can interfere with their health and mood in more serious ways, sometimes leading to depression.
“Women have been in situations where we’ve lost so much of a sense of ourselves and connection to the other, that we’re just not into it. It has nothing to do with anything around us,” she says.
Why MINDCURE is Pursuing This Project
There are two main reasons Ramsden and her team are keen to study MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in this context.
“It’s one thing to see a sizable market with no feasible solution, and so we believe MDMA with psychotherapy is that,” she says. Second, it makes sense to focus on MDMA because it’s most likely the next psychedelic molecule to hit the market.
“We think there’s strong reason to believe not only the program will be effective, but that the timing to market is really advantageous,” she says. “There’s a reason why they call MDMA the love drug—because of how it affects our connection to self and other and openness.”
Ramsden admits it’s a bold topic in the psychedelic space, but as a female CEO, she knows intrinsically how real this issue is for women.
“When we get together for a weekend, this is something we talk about, so for me to take it on, it’s very much an ‘of course’ thing. I feel very comfortable talking about women’s sexuality and desire,” she says. “I don’t think there’s any problem with having space in the market for having a conversation about being a fully expressed woman.”
MINDCURE has assembled a team of researchers that include well-cited researchers on sexuality and desire for women, as well as the lead researcher for the MAPS for PTSD, Dr. Jennifer Mitchell.
The Problem With Existing Treatments
According to Ramsden, existing treatments for HSDD range between $600 and $1,100 in price per month and need to be taken daily to work. MINDCURE’s Desire Project opens the door to a new treatment and a potentially lucrative opportunity for the company because of its patient base.
“Once you unlock this market for women, women are very brand loyal. It provides an additional amount of opportunity for us, so there’s a great future ahead,” she says. Ramsden is incredibly confident that MDMA holds the potential to become a frontline therapeutic for HSDD.
“One thing that we have done strategically as an organization is we look to what works in the world, and we bring it into the lab,” she says. “MDMA has a history of doing things that we believe need to be done to help women connect to themselves: explore past negative experiences and connect to other people. With the psychotherapeutic component, we believe it’s got sticking and staying power.”
Watch the video above to see the interview with CEO Kelsey Ramsden in its entirety.
The Desire Project – https://bit.ly/2XRVon6