A Closer Look At Psilera Bioscience, The Psychedelic Research Firm That Just Raised $2.5 Million In Seed Funding

Psilera Bioscience made news last week when it received $2.5 million from investors to help further fund its research into the health benefits of psychoactive mushrooms.

The Tampa, Florida-based firm Psilera Bioscience describes themselves as a company focused on “reimagining psychoactive natural medicines such as DMT to provide patient-driven research and outcomes.”

Millions of Americans continue to struggle with some form of mental illness, and despite its complicated relationship with public perception, psychedelics have once again captivated the minds of the world’s most renowned medical scientists.

“Current treatments for those illnesses aren’t very effective,” stated Psilera Bioscience co-founder and CEO Chris Witowski. “Psychedelics haven’t been explored as an option since the 1970s. We now have the tools to see how the drugs function in the brain and analyze if they’re actually working.”

Psilera Bioscience has focused much of its research on computational chemistry, which relies on a variety of computer models and functional MRIs to artificially replicate how psychoactive chemicals create molecular changes in the human brain.

Having made this their main focus since the company’s 2019 founding, Psilera has now focused its efforts on the delivery of psychoactive chemicals into a patient. Looking to avoid injections, Psilera is working to develop a nasal gel that would deliver a controlled amount of psychoactive compounds to the user.

Research is also being conducted on the effectiveness of transdermal patches. A Phase 1B trial is scheduled to test this patch delivery method early next year, with 10-20 healthy participants expected to participate in the trial.

“Who wants a needle in their arm when they’re hallucinating?” said Witowski.

Patients suffering from neurological disorders often develop patterns within the pathways of the brain that trigger a particular response. When looking at a patient suffering from depression, this pathway could trigger negative thoughts.

What researchers are looking to prove is that psychedelics might hold the key to eliminating harmful neural pathways and allow for easier means to create new, healthier ones.

Should this theory prove true, it could lead to a number of rapid advances in relation to mental health diseases. Promising connections have already been made between psychedelic therapy and the battles against addiction, Alzheimers, and depression.

Psychedelics are federally classified as a Scheduled 1 drug, so while research is permitted, legislative changes will be needed before the substances are clinically approved for medicinal application.

Florida Venture Capital Firm Leads The Investment

The research being performed by Witowski and his team caught the attention of another young Florida firm, Ft. Lauderdale’s Inter Investments. The 11-month-old venture capital firm already contains seven psychedelic companies in its portfolio. While most of these companies are located out of the United States, Inter Investments managing partner Dustin Robinson was excited to find a psychedelic startup a short drive across the narrow state.

“I see them as a leading company in the psychedelics ecosystem, right in our neighborhood,” said Robinson on the investment. “It was an amazing opportunity to operate within Florida.”

Psilera Bioscience’s $2.5 million investment also included contributions from Baird Inc., JLS Fund, Receptor, What If Ventures. Additional funding came Psilera board members and founders, as well.

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