MINDCURE CEO Kelsey Ramsden Details The Company’s New Deal With Awakn Life Sciences
Some might be feeling dispirited about the state of the psychedelics industry, but don’t count MINDCURE CEO Kelsey Ramsden among them.
“When you’re involved in the industry that we’re in, you can either choose to get distracted by some of the things that aren’t optimal, like the FDA halting something—but that’s drug development,” she said. “I think the conditions for most of us are perfect.”
She added that next month’s fast-approaching Wonderland: Miami psychedelics conference could lead to some shake-ups in the space, following what is being billed as the largest event of its kind.
“There’s always such a difference when you can meet a real, live person,” she said. “I’ve always believed that business moves at the speed of trust… I think the industry will see a lot of interesting things coming out of this collision of all of us connecting there.”
MINDCURE and Awakn Will Sign LOI
On the subject of partnerships, Ramsden said that especially so early on in the industry, people are making big bets, and who companies decide to partner with can say a lot about either party.
MINDCURE (CNX: MCUR) announced yesterday that it intends to partner with Awakn Life Sciences to be a distributor of its ketamine-assisted psychotherapy protocol for alcohol use disorder in the United States and Canada. The protocol will be distributed through MINDCURE’s digital therapeutics platform, iSTRYM.
“We built [iSTRYM] to be this distribution network, kind of like the Netflix of protocols,” she said. “Anthony [Tennyson, CEO of Awakn] was one of the first people I approached because it’s important for us to have the best protocols on the system. Their scientific team is top-notch, and they don’t kid around,” she said, referring to David Nutt and Ben Sessa.
Ramsden said that the announcement was “the first of many” around high-profile, scientifically rigorous teams deploying their protocols on the iSTRYM platform.
“What that means for investors is understanding of another line item of revenue, so it’s not just clinic-level, traditional SAS charging therapists and patients, but a distribution model that has licensing fees and allows us to stack another revenue layer on.”
Alcohol Use Disorder
Awakn is one of just a few companies interested in providing treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), and Ramsden pointed out that while it’s a very common condition, it’s not often the first thing mentioned when it comes to research, even though there is long history of it helping to reduce alcohol consumption.
“When we talk about psychedelics, most people go straight to depression, anxiety, and PTSD,” she said. “As a therapist [treating someone with AUD], you’re kind of out of options. There aren’t a lot of great things to be utilizing.” Combining Awakn’s protocols with iSTRYM to treat AUD presents MINDCURE with the opportunities of “a big market, a scalable model, good science, and helping people.”
MINDCURE’s Future Clinic Roll-Out
During Q1 and Q2 of 2022, MINDCURE is set to move from a closed beta stage to a commercial one, scaling first in clinics in the U.S. and Canada—as many as 75 in total—and in future quarters in Europe and the U.K. The clinics will be predominantly psychedelic-focused, even though the iSTRYM platform has been built to be drug-agnostic.
What iSTRYM can provide for therapists is a better way to standardize and measure the care of their patients, said Ramsden of the platform.
“A lot of therapists want to have a better way to communicate with their patients and have a line of sight into what their patients are doing and arm them with something so that when they leave the building, in the two weeks between sessions, they have something purposeful to do,” she said. It integrates features like a preparatory phase and protocol design.
This is something that can be utilized by therapists who don’t use psychedelics, too. It’s all part of Ramsden’s “hope for the best, plan for the worst” attitude.
“The good news is, the science is good, people like psychedelics in terms of the research, and we see people scaling clinics, and that’s great,” she said. “The bad news is, all of us in the echo chamber, are pro-psychedelic and we’re ready to rumble. The typical Tuesday Jim on the street isn’t so sure just yet.”
While the progress may seem slower than what psychedelic industry enthusiasts have in mind, novel treatments generally take off through word-of-mouth, when a person shares their experience with others, she said, and for that to happen, it will take at least a year based on her self-described “bullish” predictions.
For the full update on MINDCURE, watch the rest of TDR’s interview with Kelsey Ramsden in the video above.