Published on
March 19, 2021

Natalie Dolphin | Director, Marketing, MagicMed Industries

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Natalie Dolphin
Director, Marketing

Natalie Dolphin is an accomplished marketing professional with a portfolio of successful projects under her belt in the private and public space. Currently, she leads the marketing team at MagicMed Industries, building off her experience in business development, finance, marketing and running start-up companies for the past ten years. MagicMed is developing a molecular derivatives library to identify novel psychedelic compounds utilizing proprietary AI-driven drug discovery technology.

What got you personally excited about psychedelics?

In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health episode or illness. Furthermore, only about half of Canadians experiencing a major depressive episode receive potentially adequate care.  What excites me about the psychedelic industry is that it provides a totally new way to approach mental health. By being able to develop new derivative molecules that represent new medicinal options, we are able to potentially treat a larger percentage of the patient base much more effectively and make a positive impact in the mental health space. 

Can you talk about your latest collaboration with Dr. Suran Goonatilake and Dr. Eric Nyberg?

It’s an extraordinary opportunity to be allied with two internationally respected thought leaders in AI, upholding the Company's core tenet of engaging with industry leaders. Dr. Suran Goonatilake and Dr. Eric Nyberg, whose ground-breaking developments have helped shaped aspects of AI for decades, have agreed to join us in solving a fundamental challenge: the goal to develop new therapies for a growing mental health pandemic. Three major disciplines are converging: AI-driven drug-discovery, synthetic biology and the 'psychedelic renaissance' to treat mental health conditions. It's very exciting to be at the nexus of this convergence.

What is PsyAI™ focused on and how will that advance novel drug discovery around psychedelics? 

The standard pharmaceutical candidate screening process is a consistent bottleneck in bringing standard pharmaceutical candidates to market and acts as a primary determinant of eventual clinical success or failure. This is especially true in the psychedelics industry due to a limited understanding of the mechanisms underlying observed clinical data. Combining PsyAI™ and the Psybrary™, MagicMed's large-scale novel molecule creation platform, creates an opportunity to accelerate the development of optimized pharmaceutical candidates, each tailored specifically for difficult-to-treat mental health indications. 

To put it simply, we can view each mental health indication as a specific lock.  Drug molecules bind to disease-related receptors like a key in a lock. By derivatizing classic psychedelics, MagicMed creates a large library of potential keys.  However, the standard screening process that has been utilized for decades would take years to find the right key for each lock.  PsyAI™ is a tool designed to streamline pharmaceutical design by predicting structure, manufacturing capabilities and pharmacological effects in an effort to accelerate the modernization of psychedelic medicines. In other words, PsyAI™ will be able to design the right key, provide us with answers in terms of manufacturing each key in the most efficient way and provide information on how each key would potentially affect the patient. 

How will PsyAI™ modernize psychedelic medicine and help speed up the process of bringing pharmaceutical candidates to development?

The standard process used in the pharmaceutical industry to screen molecules for a targeted treatment is time consuming and expensive.  Each PsyAI™ module that is developed increases the value of a compound as a potential therapeutic by leveraging AI systems to reduce the time and cost of commercial development. This significantly speeds up the R&D phase and potentially the preclinical phase of the drug development process. 

Will PsyAI™ help you discover new, novel psychedelic compounds? 

Combining PsyAI™  and the Psybrary™, creates an opportunity to accelerate the development of optimized pharmaceutical candidates, each tailored specifically to difficult-to-treat mental health indications. As you can imagine this will create a sizable amount of data that will be fed back into the model to provide us with further iterations of desired candidates. 

Will this new technology give any insights into the efficacy, safety, or side-effects of certain compounds? 

One of the goals of MagicMed’s PsyAI™ platform is to provide actionable insights that can improve the speed and accuracy of its derivative compound development process.  Included in that process are factors such as efficacy, safety and potential side effects. In this industry, data is being generated at a rapid pace so we are designing our platform to continuously incorporate structured and unstructured data to use those factors to improve the efficiency of our process.

How will this expand your opportunities for unique patentable IP and will the technology be owned by MagicMed?

The Artificial Intelligence technology that we are developing will be owned by MagicMed.  One of MagicMed’s core strategies is to explore intellectual property as it relates to compound structure, manufacture and method.  Since there are precedents for patenting machine learning models for pharmaceutical development, we will look to incorporate our PsyAI™ platform into our IP strategy as well. 

Currently, what novel psychedelic molecules are being explored by MagicMed?

MagicMed has finished its initial derivative portfolio based on the structures of psilocybin and N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Research efforts continue to create additional patents and derivative portfolios based on MDMA, mescaline, LSD and ibogaine.

How do you see psychedelic medicines making an impact on healthcare as a whole in the future?

Psychedelics have immense potential to treat several illnesses. Multiple psychedelic-based scientific studies and clinical trials have shown promising data to treat many mental health indications. As it stands, the pharmaceutical treatments out there are ineffective and only work on a small patient base.  By creating psychedelic derived pharmaceutical solutions, we hope to expand the range of treatment options and with a focus on a higher quality of life.   

Who is someone doing important work in the world of psychedelics that you think more people should be aware of?

As the psychedelics industry is expanding rapidly, there are many companies, agencies and individuals that are playing vital roles in trying to tackle a growing mental health crisis.  Whether these folks are focused on academic research, clinical studies or commercial applications, we look forward to collaborating with others to expedite our R&D efforts.