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Psyched: Colorado Legalizes Psychedelics, NYC Treats Alcoholism With Ketamine, $30M Series A For Startup

Benzinga · 11/15/2022 11:46

Colorado Voters Approve Initiative To Legalize And Regulate Psychedelics

It was too close to call most of election night but Colorado finally confirmed that voters approved an initiative to legalize the possession of certain psychedelics and create psilocybin healing centers. Proposition 122, the Natural Medicine Health Act Initiative will immediately decriminalize psilocybin, psilocin and mescaline (not derived from peyote), ibogaine and DMT.

In addition to decriminalizing adult possession and gifting of psychedelics, voters approved the creation of regulated psilocybin therapy centers. The initiative will also provide expungement for people who have previously been convicted and served time.

Colorado will join Oregon, where Measure 109 legalized psilocybin therapy and decriminalized the personal use of other psychedelics in 2020.

Read more on the ballot’s results HERE.

New Partnership Brings Leading Psychedelic Protocol For Alcoholism Treatment To NYC

NYC-based clinics brand Nushama and clinical-stage psychedelics biotech company Awakn Life Sciences AWKNF partnered to bring Awakn’s advanced ketamine-assisted therapy treatment for AUD to Nushama’s New York clinics. 

They intend to provide sustained relief from depression, anxiety, chronic pain, addiction and trauma-induced mood disorders with high-dose IV Ketamine. 

This is the first time the KARE (Ketamine for Reduction of Alcoholic Relapse) protocol is being offered in New York City medical facilities. Nushama's co-founder and president Richard Meloff is optimistic about the new collaboration’s ability to deliver positive outcomes for patients in need of treatment: 2022 numbers show 63.3% of excessive alcohol use deaths are from chronic causes -such as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

“This is truly breaking new ground in the treatment of AUD. As it is well documented, relapse rates for traditional inpatient alcohol rehab are very high. In addition, such programs are extremely expensive. With this new evidence-based approach, patients can continue their normal lives through Nushama’s outpatient program in a relatively cost-effective way," Meloff said.

Learn what Awakn and Nushama exclusively disclosed to Benzinga on the new collaboration HERE.

Psychedelics Biotech Startup Gets $30M Series A Financing For Novel Drug Discovery Engine

Psychedelics startups are increasingly being funded by private placements these days. This time, the biotech company led by expert researchers, clinicians and drug developers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Sensorium Therapeutics has closed a $30 million Series A financing round to advance its initial compound SENS-01 together with its Biodynamic Discovery Platform (BDP.) 

The funding round was led by healthcare and life sciences investment firm Santé Ventures, while Route 66 Ventures, CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, WPSS.bio, Palo Santo, Iter Investments, Ocama Partners and re.Mind Capital participated as well.

Sensorium’s focus is set on leveraging medicinal chemistry, neuroscience and machine learning toward the development of psychoactive medicines for mental health. The company’s newly-developed drug discovery engine is designed to rapidly identify, synthesize and enhance targeted molecules as novel therapeutics. 

The Biodynamic Discovery Platform (BDP) feeds data outputs from its natural product library and precise characterization into machine-learning algorithms. By prioritizing mechanisms with proven efficacy in human brains, the platform is set to help Sensorium deliver modern therapeutics in a faster manner and with improved efficacy and tolerability, fewer side effects, and decreased dependence potential.

Specifically, its initial asset SENS-01 has shown promise as a fast-acting and well-tolerated therapy for patients with anxiety and depression. The company expects to begin IND-enabling studies on this drug in 2023, and commence clinical trials by early 2024.

Read more on this exciting new launch HERE.

The Milestone Round

Each week, we learn about new clinical trials, the creation of psychedelic-based compounds and novel potential treatments for those suffering from mental and physical health conditions.

Highlights included the launch of a new offer for affordable psychedelic-assisted treatments and an M&A with the promise of enhancing therapy with psychedelics throughout telehealth functionalities.

In the research arena, most noticeably a novel drug is advancing the dosing stage assessing efficacy for the treatment of fibromyalgia and the University of Wisconsin is diving into the study of how memory might be leveraging the therapeutic effects of certain psychedelics.

Several psychedelics biotech companies reported their financial and business results for the quarters ended September 30, 2022, including atai (NASDAQ: ATAI), Filament (OTC: FLHLF), and MindMed (NASDAQ: MNMD), while investment holding company Blackhawk Corp. (OTC: BLRZF) announced its intentions to pursue a complete spin-out transaction of two of its wholly-owned psychedelics subsidiaries.

In miscellaneous news this week, we found out the US National Parks Service specifically asked its visitors to stop licking psychedelic toads.

Psychedelics EFTs Weekly Performance

This is how the sector’s major EFTs performed in the week spanning November 7 to 11.

  • AdvisorShares Psychedelics PSIL opened Monday, November 7 at $2.33, compared to the former Monday, Oct. 31’s opening at $2.40 and all the way to Monday, Oct. 10’s $2.80. Falling to the week’s lowest at $2.26 reached on Wednesday, Nov. 9, then scaling up to the week’s highest at $2.48 on Friday 11. The prior week's highest was $2.47, and the lowest was $2.38. 

The Elemental Advisors PSYK EFT PSYK opened Monday, November 7 at $17.05, considerably lower than the previous Monday, Oct. 31 at $17.62, higher than Monday, Oct. 24’s opening at $16.97 but quite away from Monday, Oct. 10’s $18.40. Tuesday 8 was up to $17.32, then Wednesday 9 down again down to $17.13, and then a big leap forward to $18.01 on Thursday 10 and finally closing at highest $18.19 on Friday 11, a considerable rise compared to the former week’s closing at $17.18. For this EFT, the yearly price range is set between $23.32 and $16.71.