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This New York City Pharma Startup Wants To Turn LSD Into An FDA-Approved Medicine For Anxiety Disorder

Mind Medicine Inc., a New York-based psychedelic drug development company, that counts Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary and Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie as investors, has acquired the exclusive rights to eight clinical trials that are exploring the medicinal properties of the powerful hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). One of the studies is an ongoing, placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial of LSD for the treatment of anxiety disorder.

The deal gives Mind Medicine a 10-year exclusive collaboration with the laboratory of professor Dr. Matthias Liechti, one of the world’s leaders in psychedelics pharmacology and clinical research at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland. Mind Medicine will also get exclusive worldwide rights to data, compounds, and patent rights associated with the research on LSD and other psychedelic compounds.  

Mind Medicine cofounder JR Rahn, a 32-year-old former Uber employee, says his company’s mission is simple: “We are going to develop these drugs as FDA-approved medicines. We are going to focus on the data and clinical trials and develop IP that will help us create federally-legal medicines” he says. “We need to get the average person to realize that these are not evil drugs—they can be used as medicines and be successful at treating unmet medical needs.” 

Rahn says that Dr. Liechti will also help the company prepare micro-dosing study of LSD as a potential treatment for adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “Micro-dosing” is a term that refers to the practice of taking small, non-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic drugs. It’s an outright trend in Silicon Valley as people look for ways to be more creative, deal with stress and self-treat anxiety and other maladies. 

“Over the past decade we have amassed the largest collection of clinical trials around LSD; we have been studying the pharmacology and potential medical uses of LSD and other psychedelics for many years in the laboratory, in patients, and in healthy volunteers,” Dr. Liechti said in a statement.