The U.K.’s Oxford-based startup Beckley Psytech recently raised $80 million to bolster clinical trial research that uses a pharmaceutical formulation of 5-MeO-DMT to treat depression. A natural defense tool produced endogenously by the Sonoran Desert toad, 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a psychedelic venom and powerful compound.
Researchers believe the venom can be synthesized in a lab and could have enormous potential in treating resistant depression. Vice Media’s Hamilton Morris was quoted in High Times calling the toads’ secretion the “most potent psychedelic toad venom on Earth,” which makes it ideal for medical research. Clinical studies thus far that research psilocybin show a huge potential for battling treatment-resistant depression when combined with a therapist’s supervision. But while a psilocybin experience or “trip” can last anywhere from five to eight hours (or longer), a 5-MeO-DMT experience only lasts about one hour, which could greatly reduce the cost of treatment for patients.
“Requiring a therapist to sit with a patient for the entire duration of a psilocybin, MDMA or LSD experience which is, say, six to eight to 10 hours long, is going to be resource-intensive and expensive,” said Beckley Psytech CEO Cosmo Fielding Mellen. “My life’s passion has been to unlock the therapeutic potential of psychedelics as I believe these compounds could help millions of people around the world,” he continued. Many other prominent research facilities, activists, and even political figures have also begun to push for further psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD-related research studies as they share a similar viewpoint and passion with Mellen: that of unlocking the world of psychedelics in the hopes of treating treatment-resistant medical conditions such as depression, PTSD, and more.
According to High Times, the Series B financing was upgraded to $80 million from $50 million due to “overwhelming interest” from investors who are becoming more interested in supporting the “psychedelic medicine research pipeline.” Beckley Psytech’s funding will also go toward investigating whether psilocybin can be used to treat SUNHA (short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks), “a rare and debilitating headache condition.”