COVID-19 Update #2: DecrimCA Update; Cyclica chips in; Convincing the Ayahuasca community; Cancellations
Welcome to The Trip Report, a newsletter for the builders of the emerging psychedelic ecosystem on the business, policy, and impact of psychedelics.
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In Friday’s Trip Report Pro dispatch, we looked at some of the pain points that the Coronavirus is inflicting on the psychedelic movement.
I have since made that content available to all, and you can find it here.
This Trip Report Pro dispatch is also available to all since it pertains to the public health crisis that is going to have far-reaching consequences.
In this edition, we’ll look at further event cancellations, voices from the community, and the status of one policy initiative impacted by COVID-19.
Some questions I have about how this future world looks concerning the psychedelic space:
How does this affect active clinical trials and presupposed approval timelines? Do studies have trouble screening candidates, reporting adverse events? Amending protocols?
Does the FDA/EMA make any meaningful changes to processes and approval guidelines?
Right now, the agencies are being forced to make quick decisions with limited information about potential treatments and testing—will they learn from this experience, so we see shorter development cycles, less capital intensive processes, faster responses to other catastrophic unmet needs?
How many offshore retreats and clinics will have to close from short term (hopefully) lack of revenue?
How does the stress of a global pandemic affect those in our community with PTSD, anxiety, addiction? How does a global pandemic affect the rates of PTSD, anxiety, addiction?
Please stay safe and take care of each other.
As always, thanks for reading, sharing, and supporting The Trip Report. If you are interested in supporting independent psychedelic news and analysis, please consider becoming a subscriber of The Trip Report Pro.
An announcement from Decriminalize Nature DC last week made me realize that signature gathering for psychedelic related ballot measures will go off the rails in the coming days and last weeks and possibly months.
I reached out to Oregon’s PSI2020 campaign, DecrimCA, and DecrimDC by Twitter. I was curious to know where they stood in signatures collected and what contingency plans they had.
DecrimCA folks responded to say they have only gathered 1/4 of the required signatures that they'll need by April 21st.
I appreciated the response and transparency. It was very easy for them to come back with a more self-congratulatory and obfuscating answer like the kind we’ve gotten used to coming from the White House lately (always).
However, at that rate, it would seem unlikely they were going to reach their goal by the April 21st deadline.
Failure this time around would be a silver lining as organizers can go back to the drawing board with less urgency. This initiative felt rushed and less thought out as others.
Oregon’s Psilocybin Services Initiative is thoughtful and outlines a framework that makes it possible for therapists/guides to administer natural medicine and prevents a race to the bottom branding/marketing competition, as we’ve seen in cannabis markets.
The PSI bill has also collected 100k of the required 112k signatures. They have a July 2nd deadline. I’ve reached out to lead organizer, Sheri Bessi-Eckert, for ways to support their efforts. I will get back you when she gets back to me, though I am sure a donation to the cause can’t hurt.
The official Bill can be found here.
ATAI Partner, Cyclica Collaborates with Chinese Institute on COVID-19
Cyclica is a Toronto based drug discovery company that partnered with Psychedelic giant ATAI Life Sciences to create Entheogenix, a venture that will use Cyclica’s AI-based drug discovery platform to discover psychedelic-based drug candidates.
This week Cyclica partnered with the Chinese Institute of Materia Medica (IMM) to work towards treatment, possibly a vaccine for the Coronavirus.
From a press release:
“Leveraging PolypharmDB and MatchMaker, Cyclica's scientists investigated both human targets as well as viral proteins with potential therapeutic relevance for COVID-19 in rapid fashion. The result is a set of molecules that are predicted to interact with the putative therapeutic targets for COVID-19.
In this collaboration, China’s Institute of Materia Medica will conduct in vitro and in vivo antiviral assessment for molecules proposed by Cyclica. In addition, the two parties will cooperate in a longer-term effort to design multi-target antiviral compounds with the goal of reducing drug resistance.”
There haven’t been any announcements from Entheogenix that I have seen, and I have been looking.
However, the process that Cyclica and IMM are going through is likely a good model of how Entheogenix will operate. Namely, take a database of known molecules, possibly even PiHKAL and TiHKAL and similar repositories, and run them through Cyclica’s AI to see how they compare based on the receptor, binding site, affinity, etc. to glean insight into which would be best candidates for development.
ATAI’s Chief Scientific Officer Srinivas Rao and Cyclia CEO Naheed Kurji spoke about the partnership at Startup Health back in January.
Required reading for the “Ayahuasca sector.”
The world is responding to the crisis of COVID-19, yet the tone of this piece is pleading with Ayahuasca leaders to cancel ceremonies and retreats and to take it seriously.
Here are some highlights:
Therapist Training Goes Online
More Conferences and Event Cancellations
The Philosophy of Psychedelics Conference
OPEN Foundation’s ICPR 2020
As always, thank you for reading, sharing, and supporting The Trip Report.
Wash your hands, stay home, and take care of each other.