In our latest conversation with Dr. Lyle Oberg, the MYND Life Sciences CEO summed up why investors should pay attention to his company, which will soon find itself on the Canadian Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol MYND.
Through its work with the Michael Smith Laboratory at the University of British Columbia, the MYND team knows “how psychedelics work, and why they work.” Beyond that, he said, “we’ve identified the gene pathway that actually leads to an improvement in depression, and it’s through alleviating inflammation.”
Dr. Oberg is the former finance minister of Alberta and a medical doctor who became interested in psychedelics and involved with the company after being approached by Dr. Wilfred Jefferies, the first person ever hired to work at the Michael Smith Laboratory, with an idea about a gene pathway that he had discovered related to depression.
“If you can make inroads into depression, just think of the good, positive stuff that can happen,” Oberg said. “One of the reasons [for the transition] was, I was never quite happy with psychiatric diagnoses when I was a practicing physician… this was a great opportunity to delve more into the depressive disorders.”
He went on to explain why major depressive disorder in particular is related to inflammation: “Major depressive disorder is a neuro inflammation, so it actually is a physical cause. This came about with the relationship between rheumatoid arthritis, which is an inflammatory disease, and depression. We’re now seeing more and more papers coming out that are showing the relationship between depression and neuro-inflammation.”
MYND Life Sciences researchers have discovered the switch, he said, that can turn a pro-inflammatory state into an anti-inflammatory state. Dr. Jefferies’ preclinical work suggests that when that switch is flipped, patients could potentially see improvements in their depression, “in a matter of hours, not weeks or years.”
Oberg was also asked to comment on the current state of psychedelic research, and whether science conducted in a world-class laboratory like the one at UBC could be compared to work being conducted abroad at less credible institutions.
While MYND Life Sciences is taking a different approach, he commended his industry colleagues for “taking the psychedelic industry and making it mainstream.”
“People are much more open minded, and a lot of that has to do with companies that are there now,” he said.
“We’re actually taking a look at the individual molecule, and finding the one that works in our gene pathway, but certainly the people that are out there giving psilocybin derivatives to patients and seeing improvement, that’s what’s actually propelling this industry forward at the moment.”
MYND Life Sciences currently holds patents for as many as 36 different psilocybin analogues and is in the pre-clinical research stage with those analogues. According to Oberg, the company intends to be in the IND phase within one year, and will have four studies of their own in the works before the end of 2021. The work builds on Jefferies’ ten-year body of work on the aforementioned gene pathway.
Commenting on the industry as a whole, Oberg said we are beginning to see “worldwide acceptance and study” of psychedelics, as we did with cannabis. A key difference, he said, is that psychedelics are being treated as more medical and less recreational.
“There’s absolutely zero intent for this to become a recreational drug, this is a medicine first and foremost,” he said. “The acceptance of this worldwide is huge… and we think we can take UBC and Canada to the top when it comes to psychedelic research.”
Watch the full interview in the video.