Robert Roscow, MA (Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder). Mr. Roscow is a highly educated geneticist with impressive knowledge around multiple arts of science. He has spent his academic and professional careers looking for valuable and unique active medicinal compounds found in nature. The last two companies Mr. Roscow applied his innovations to were Canopy Growth and ebbu where he was the head of their genetics divisions.
Mr. Roscow has already leveraged an expertise in genomics, evolution, and molecular biology to maximize the industrial production of cannabinoids and their use in a pharmacological context. His work has resulted in multiple patent filings and accolades in publications ranging from Nature to Rolling Stone. Now, Mr. Roscow has set his focus on the vast healing potential of the safe and effective compounds found in fungi.
What made you personally want to get involved in this space?
The diversity of compounds produced in nature that can affect human consciousness has fascinated me for my entire life. My academic training in biology, evolution and genetics has only further deepened my understanding, and level interest. In my last role I was able to see great benefit when applying modern scientific methods to commercial questions in the cannabis sector. I see some parallels and some contrasts with my experience there. However the standout factor that makes me excited about the space is that it is currently experiencing a perfect storm, where science is sitting ready to answer questions that the greater society and medicine are hungrily waiting for. What drives me and the team at Mydecine is our desire to contribute to the reduction of mental health disorders so we can harness the power of fungi to support the healing of millions of people.
What trend do you think is emerging in the world of psychedelics and what impact do you see that having in the next decade?
The basic therapeutic potential of the psychedelic compounds has been known for decades in western medicine. However, it has not been developed due to a lack of mechanistic understanding, the unfortunate societal scorn and the government's war on drugs. We are standing at the precipice where this is changing; modern molecular biology and neuroimaging techniques are quickly filling in our understanding and rendering prior arguments obsolete. This major trend will result in great benefit to currently underserved patients.
What impact will genetics have on psychedelic drug discovery?
Genetics underpins all life and thus is the foundation for understanding both the production of compounds in mushrooms/fungi, as well as their pharmacological action in humans. By utilizing genetics we can properly understand the link between the biological process in the body that our drug is targeting and the disease that we are treating. The field of science focusing on DNA and genes has been transformational in improving the ability to develop new medicines and increases the speed to commercialization all while lowering the risk.
Which achievements are you most proud of at Mydecine to date?
I’m most proud of the scientific team we have assembled. I have yet to have the opportunity to work with such talented and passionate academic and medical researchers. Our academic partnerships span 5 countries and include top institutions and scientists that have been leading psychedelic research for decades. This is proving dividends in our complex field of work. It is incredibly satisfying to bring experts together to tackle issues where there is so much potential benefit to society at large.
What makes the Neuropharm psilocybin PTSD clinical trial different from what MAPS is doing with MDMA?
The two are completely different drugs with different mechanisms of action. Psilocybin is seeing exciting research support for enhancing patients receptiveness to treatment with therapy. Our research has the potential to highlight how current methods of therapy may be made more effective with the addition of psilocybin.
The work of MAPS to address PTSD has significantly moved the field forward and they have helped pioneer the psychedelics industry into what it is today. The best outcome for patients is when clinicians, doctors and therapists, have access to a diverse set of quality therapies. We are encouraged by the success of colleagues in the field, this will only further benefit patients in the long run.
PTSD is an extremely underserved condition in the veteran population and it is very common with some data showing that over 30% of veterans have PTSD at least once in their lives. Our clinical trials with PTSD are focused on understanding how psilocybin may aid in the treatment of this challenging condition. There is a real opportunity here to address suffering in our veterans population, while opening a door to treating trauma in the broader population.
Can you tell us about Mydecine’s naturally derived cGMP psilocybin and what that meansfor your R&D program?
While psilocybin can be synthesized in a lab, nature has spent significant time optimizing it’s creation over thousands of years. Our company’s ability to both manufacture and supply our own naturally derived cGMP clinical study drug compounds, allows for both greater experimental control and lower costs and is a big competitive advantage.
There is tremendous value in understanding this diversity for commercial and medical purposes.Psilocybin is produced by a wide variety of over 200 fungal species. These species are quite diverse both in their biology and chemistry. Our team is hard at work on the study, selection, and cultivation of valuable, rare and exotic fungi, as well as the incorporation of top-tier analytical chemistry, molecular biology, next-gen sequencing, and tissue culture.
The diversity of medical potential in fungal compounds is astounding, the synergy of this knowledge with cutting edge research and production presents a remarkable opportunity for advances in both pointed treatment of serious conditions as well as general wellness.