One of the biggest companies in the psychedelic space caught the attention of investors last week when it announced the results of its latest research during the first big psychedelic event since the pandemic began.
Cybin announced last week that preclinical research focusing on its proprietary psilocybin compound, CYB003, had proven to be favourable. Results from animal studies showed that the deuterated analogue of psilocybin had a faster onset time than standard psilocybin, with a shorter duration of effect—characteristics that could be helpful in a therapeutic setting.
The Upsides of CYB003
“It’s really exciting—I think everyone is hyped about psilocybin, it has tons of potential,” said Doug Drysdale, CEO of the company in an interview with The Dales Report following the big announcement.
“But for 20 years we’ve known about the downsides,” he said, referring to the longer lasting effects of psilocybin—sometimes as long as six hours—and its unpleasant side effects, like nausea.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to turn these molecules into actual therapeutics, used by patients, who will get used by providers, who will get reimbursed, so we’re trying to tackle those, and that’s where CYB003 comes along.”
Cybin’s iteration of psilocybin lasts half the time as standard psilocybin, offering patients a much shorter time in the clinic, with an onset time that is twice as fast.
“[CYB003] has much better brain penetration, which means the potential to give lower doses,” added Drysdale. “Many people on psilocybin have trouble with nausea, so we can avoid the nausea. That’s a better patient experience.”
The drug also offers less variability according to Drysdale, who says that with any therapeutic the goal “is to build a predictable response.”
The Importance of Data and IP
“At the end of the day, this is about turning psychedelics into therapeutics, and that’s going to come not from hype and not from press releases,” he said. “It’s going to come from the data, and I think this is the first step towards really robust data.” Drysdale anticipates that the company will begin its first CYB003 studies in humans in the beginning of 2022.
Another important aspect of the molecule and treatment, said Drysdale, is that CYB003 is protected by nine patent filings so far, and the company intends to add more as it builds on data. “At the end of the day, that’s what the investors are looking for,” he said.
Next, Cybin will be in talks with the FDA and regulators in the UK, with plans to file its IND in the second quarter of 2022, followed by its first human studies.
What Does Deuteration Do?
While CYB003 is like psilocybin, Drysdale explained the process behind the analogue’s improved bioavailability.
“It’s very close but we’ve added deuteration to it, and what deuteration does is four things: it improves all bioavailability to about 90 percent, compared to about 40 percent with psilocybin,” he said. “It decreases variability, improves metabolic stability, and helps get it across the blood brain barrier more efficiently.”
Watch the rest of the interview above to hear Drysdale weigh in on the role of Big Pharma in psychedelics and psychiatry.