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Inside the quest to find a place in modern medicine for magic mushrooms as a treatment for depression, other mental illnesses

| | July 10, 2019
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Magic mushrooms growing on a farm in central Netherlands. Image: Peter Dejong/AP
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Today, with a net worth of roughly $400 million accrued through various enterprises, [German financier Christian] Angermayer is one of the driving forces behind the movement to turn long-shunned psychoactive substances, like the psilocybin derived from so-called magic mushrooms, into approved medications for depression and other mental illnesses. Though he still resolutely won’t touch even a drop of alcohol, he has banded together a team of like-minded entrepreneurs — including Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel — to invest in a handful of startups focused on developing psychedelics. 

Perhaps the most closely watched is Compass Pathways, which has patented a method to develop psilocybin in a laboratory, so it doesn’t need to be extracted from mushrooms. The company has quietly gobbled up intellectual property related to psychedelic manufacturing. And, importantly, it has won Food and Drug Administration approval to run clinical trials testing psilocybin in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

“Even if it takes just a single dose of psilocybin to treat depression — and I’d be very, very happy if that’s the case — the medical unmet need is huge,” Angermayer said. “The market is growing, for better or for worse.”

Read full, original post: The psychedelics evangelist: A German financier wants to turn magic mushrooms into modern medicine

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