Psychedelic drug startup MindMed is studying the use of drugs like LSD to treat mental health conditions like anxiety.
The company was the first psychedelics pharmaceutical firm to go public in March, testing investors’ appetite to back alternative drugs that have shown promise in treating mental health issues.
The company now is teaming up with NYU Langone to launch a clinical training program focused on psychedelic-assisted therapies and psychedelic-inspired medicines. The NYU Langone Health Psychedelic Medicine Research Training Program is the first step in a larger initiative to establish a Center for Psychedelic Medicine at NYU Langone Health.
MindMed also is committing $5 million to establish the new center.
The investment will enable NYU Langone to train a new generation of psychiatrists in psychedelic medicine as well as lead critical research on and scale adoption of these treatments, according to the company.
NYU Langone Health's training of the next generation of researchers and psychiatrists will help advance and soon deploy an emerging category of medicines, according to Charles Marmar, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
"MindMed's funding meets an important need for recruiting more clinical investigators and psychiatrists to the expanding and promising areas of psychedelic-assisted therapies and psychedelic inspired medicines, which can help so many people suffering from addiction and other mental illnesses," Marmar said in a statement.
The new center will explore the use of drugs including psilocybin-assisted therapy for alcohol use disorder and MindMed's ibogaine-derived molecule 18-MC for opioid use disorder patients.
NYU Langone Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine have been early pioneers of clinical research with psychedelic-assisted therapies and psychedelic-inspired medicines for substance use disorders and other mental illnesses.
Through this funding initiative, MindMed aims to catalyze efforts to recruit and train more psychiatrists and clinical investigators to undertake necessary research to develop training tools capable of scaling and optimizing the delivery of psychedelic-assisted therapies and psychedelic-inspired medicines to millions of patients across the U.S., the company said.
The initiative builds upon a longstanding partnership between MindMed's drug development team and the department of psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, which have collaborated since 2009 on an ibogaine-derived molecule known as 18-MC. MindMed plans to soon enter a phase 2 trial with 18-MC for opioid use disorder patients.
As the entire psychedelic medicine industry progresses multiple psychedelic substances through clinical trials at the Food and Drug Administration, the training of clinical investigators, psychiatrists and mental health professionals is of critical importance to enable MindMed to deploy therapies and medicines to patients in a regulated, accessible and financially efficient manner, the company said.
The NYU Langone Health Psychedelic Medicine Research Training Program will have an initial focus on substance use disorders including opioid addiction and alcoholism.
"In order for our industry and company to turn these once stigmatized substances into medicines, we need to build the critical training infrastructure in the United States to train clinical researchers, psychiatrists, mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors who will ultimately be our close partners in delivering these future potential therapies and medicines to millions of patients in need," said MindMed co-founders and co-CEOs J.R. Rahn and Stephen Hurst in a statement.
MindMed is investing early in this critical infrastructure as the company sees a vast opportunity and a clear potential competitive advantage in supporting, training and bridging access to large groups of mental health professionals skilled in psychedelic-assisted therapies and medicines.