Investors in the psychedelics space may have only just heard of the UK-based Small Pharma (TSXV: DMT.V OTC: DMTTF). The company was listed on the TSX Venture a short 5 weeks ago. We’re pleased to welcome to The Dales Report Peter Rands, the Director and CEO of Small Pharma to discuss his company and their focus on DMT.
Here’s some highlights from the interview.
Small Pharma portfolio largely in tryptamines and psychedelic tryptamines
Rands says that Small Pharma has an extensive patent portfolio, the bulk of which is in tryptamines and psychedelic tryptamines. 26 of their patent applications are related to psychedelic tryptamines. Many are focused on the DMT molecule without any functional changes to it.
Rands adds that Small Pharma did develop a technology that uses deuterium to change the half-life of the drug and that two of their preclinical compounds are based on that technology platform.
Small Pharma has an asset in Rands and his background in patent law
Rands comes from a background in patent law, and Small Pharma has two IP focuses on drug development.
The first is building drugs based on known active ingredients to have a clear supply chain for the essence of the medicine, and the second is developing products that have something proprietary about them.
DMT had an opportunity in optimizing the synthetic process for making it, says Rands, so Small Pharma developed a cheap and scalable synthesis using environmentally friendly raw materials. That allowed them to also develop the deuterium enrichment technology, he says, because there’s “a dovetail in the process.”
Rands clarifies for investors: Small Pharma is focused on DMT, not 5-methoxy DMT
Rands feels that DMT could be a platform for the best-in-class medicine. The reasoning, he explains, is because of the scalability in the clinical setting. This involves the number of people you can treat in a given period of time, and the number of times you can treat a person in the course of a treatment. In both, DMT can be optimized to a greater level than psilocybin, he says.
With the recent news that GH Research Ireland closed a $125 million Series B financing round to fund development of its GH001 inhaled 5-MeO-DMT, investors new to the space may make comparisons.
But Rands does want to make it clear: “One thing that I am at pains to emphasize for anyone looking to invest in Small Pharma is that we are focused on DMT, which is a separate therapeutic with a different profile to 5-methoxy DMT. At most there’s inevitably going to be some comparisons as analogues in the brain. These analogues work very, very differently. That said, both 5-methoxy DMT and DMT are short-acting psychedelics. So, in that sense, I think what GH Research has done with their series B financing with a successful float on the NASDAQ, they will definitely be shining the spotlight on short-acting psychedelics, and any investor looking at that company should be looking at us as well.”
The world’s leading institutes for developing psychedelic-assisted medicine based in London
“A boring but relevant fact,” Rand says, “is that the UK has significant R&D tax incentives for companies like us.” He explains that a lot of the infrastructure necessary to run virtual pharmaceutical companies were enabled by the legacies of what he describes as “big pharmaceutical companies that grew up here.” GSK, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer are among some of the companies he cites.
But there’s another reason why psychedelics research thrives in London. Since the UN labeled many psychedelics as Schedule 1 in the 1970s, the government in the UK spent a lot of time working out how to address new drugs that have just as much potential for harm. The result of that was the Psychoactive Substances Act, which bans the recreational use of psychoactive substances but allows an alternative framework for new psychoactive compounds in medical use.