Dr. Peter Facchini has previously held the Chief Scientific Officer role at other publicly-traded and private biotechnology companies. A recognized leader in the development of new molecular derivatives, Dr. Facchini has published more than 160 scientific papers and holds 20 patents in the field. At MagicMed Industries Dr. Facchini is applying his focus to the creation and patenting of psychedelics-derivatives.
Can you share a bit about what you found compelling on a personal level about psychedelics?
As awareness of debilitating conditions like addiction, PTSD, and substance misuse disorders increases, the prevalence of mental health challenges is becoming more and more apparent. It is estimated that by 40 years of age, one in two Canadians has – or has had – some form of mental health concern. Thankfully, this nearly universal experience is leading to reduced stigmatization in modern society. In more good news, it is also leading to an expansion in the range of treatments available. Even so, entirely new treatments are still required to address the most difficult and recalcitrant of these problems. Psychedelics offer something truly different from what is currently available.
From a medical perspective, what do you find exciting about the potential therapeutic purpose of psychedelics?
Much of what is being explored involves pairing the use of psychedelics with psychotherapy in an unprecedented way. Research has indicated potential benefits for those diagnosed with a wide range of disorders. The potentially addressable disorders span from substance misuse to cluster headaches, to anxiety during terminal illness. It’s exciting to think that psychedelics could represent an entirely new and effective treatment option.
What is MagicMed building and why is that necessary for the evolution of psychedelic derived medicines and psychedelic focused biotechs?
MagicMed is focused on developing a wide range of new and improved mental health drug candidates. These will be based on existing psychedelic medicines such as psilocybin, but optimized for the conditions they’re intended to treat. The development of new drugs in this area lags far behind pharma research in other fields. This is mostly because psychedelics were banned for so long, and consequently we have a lot of catching up to do. MagicMed, as a psychedelic-focused biotech company, is ideally positioned to manage this task.
Can you share what MagicMed’s core value will be for helping discover new medicines and molecules?
MagicMed’s core value is based on its well-established and singular capability to make new drug candidates. MagicMed is uniquely able to combine synthetic chemistry and synthetic biology in a synergistic way. We can then leverage biotech and pharma partnerships to carefully evaluate and further optimize the new psychedelic derivatives. Our goal of course is to develop the highest quality drug candidates possible, with significantly improved efficacy and reduced side effects.
What are some of the biggest problems biotechnology and pharmaceutical ventures focused on psychedelics are facing and how could MagicMed help them?
Investors are obviously eager to move this industry forward, as are the individual ventures’ management teams. Product advancement in this pharmaceutical-focused sector will rely heavily on key personnel with proven scientific and drug development track-records. The team at MagicMed already has a strong record of success in the development and commercialization of high-value pharmaceutical molecules. MagicMed employs world-class, experienced PhD-level scientists utilizing cutting-edge instrumentation and methods. Our efforts culminate in the Psybrary™, a portfolio comprised of new drug candidates and the intellectual property that protects them. This portfolio provides biotechnology and pharmaceutical ventures in the industry with the new and improved molecules they need to develop better drugs.
You hold over 20+ patents personally around molecular derivatives, can you share what some of those projects are and what potential impacts they could have?
Most of the patents I hold derive from decades-long research programs, as both a University professor and a biotechnology company executive. The technologies are centred in the field of natural product biosynthesis and the production of pharmaceutical derivatives. I have primarily focused on deploying enzymes from plants, fungi, and bacteria to produce these high value molecules.
Where do you see the future of psychedelic medicines going in the short term and how may that impact the future of healthcare?
I see this space opening up quickly as governments begin approving uses for psychedelics as treatments across a wide range of disorders. It’s been a slow start, but psychedelics are finally being showcased as viable pharmaceuticals. I imagine healthcare practitioners will be pleased to finally have access to alternative methods, expanding their resources in patient care.
Who is someone in the science community who is doing exciting work around psychedelics that you think more people should be aware of?
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris leads the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College in London. Dr. Carhart-Harris and his team work on treatment-resistant depression, and their studies have been featured prominently in leading scientific journals (e.g. Lancet Psychiatry). His work has generated some very promising data although with some side-effects that probably still need to addressed. One of our goals is to provide such leading-edge groups with a wider range of psychedelic-based treatment options to work with.