Numinus Wellness And The MDMA Opportunity
It’s been a big year for Vancouver-based Numinus Wellness (TSX: NUMI), which just last week transitioned from the TSXV to the TSX. After spending much of 2020 focusing on psilocybin, 2021 saw the company’s interest in MDMA expand considerably.
One of the most critical aspects of the company’s interest in MDMA is its relationship with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies’ Public Benefit Corporation, or MAPS PBC. Numinus established a collaboration agreement with MAPS PBC to deliver MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD through a compassionate access trial, which is currently in its early stages at the company’s Vancouver clinic.
“When we founded Numinus, we asked ourselves, how can we collaborate with a lot of these not-for-profit research groups who’ve done so much amazing work, and not get in the way of that, but work together towards a common mission?” said Numinus CEO Payton Nyquvest in an interview with TDR last December.
“MAPS was always at the top of the whiteboard, and they’re a huge part of the reason why this psychedelic renaissance is where it is today.”
The MAPS-sponsored study received regulatory approval over the summer and is collecting data on the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. A significant number of practitioners were trained to help carry it out.
It is predicted that results will build on MAPS’ existing phase 3 trial results, which were published in May, and demonstrated that 88 percent of participants who received MDMA-assisted therapy sessions experienced a clinically significant reduction in symptoms. Of patients who received MDMA, two thirds no longer qualifyied for PTSD diagnosis, in comparison to 32 percent of participants who received a placebo.
As TDR writer Benjamin A. Smith put it in February, “from our conversations with management, it is abundantly clear that the company is very passionate about… compassion.” What separates a lot of the work being conducted at Numinus is that it is focused on providing evidence around delivery, adding to the evidence body, and informing regulations, rather than maximizing profit potential.
With clinics in three major cities across Canada, an ongoing MDMA study, a solid relationship with Health Canada, and a license to possess, produce, assemble, sell, export, and deliver MDMA, Numinus is a clear front-runner among companies who consider the drug a significant part of their ecosystem, especially in the Great White North.
In an August interview with TDR, Nyquvest suggested that 2022 could be the break-out year for MDMA, and given Health Canada’s warming to psychedelic-assisted therapy, it could be the country to lead the way on providing access. More recently, however, he stressed that the paradigm shift needed in healthcare will take longer than six months.
That isn’t stopping Nyquvest and the Numinus team from pushing for change. At his keynote presentation at the Wonderland conference in November, he made it clear that psychedelic therapy ought to be positioned earlier in a patient’s treatment journey, rather than being an endpoint.
Getting there requires focusing on existing research rather than novel drug development, according to the CEO, and with 35 years of MAPS data fueling the company’s ongoing study of MDMA for PTSD, Numinus has positioned itself at the front of the line, should sweeping regulatory changes come into play.