Robin Heads the Psychedelic Research Group within the Centre for Psychiatry at Imperial College London, where he has designed a number of functional brain imaging studies with psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and DMT, plus a clinical trial of psilocybin for treatment resistant depression. He has over 50 published papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals; two of which were ranked in the top 100 most impactful academic articles of 2016. Robin’s research has been featured in major national and international media, was listed as one of Times Next100 and has given a popular TEDx talk.
He recently joined the scientific advisory board of Tryp Therapeutics where he is helping bring about novel psychedelic treatments for Fibromyalgia and Eating Disorders.
What got you excited about the mission TRYP Therapeutics is on?
Whether by chance or good reasoning, the two indications TRYP have chosen to focus on are those we are focusing on at Imperial College London in our investigator-led research, namely eating disorders and chronic pain, so the TRYP team have chosen their indications well in my opinion. TRYP also brings impressive professionalism and experience to the table, so it feels like a strong team to be part of.
What stood out to you about the team that has been put together at TRYP, from a biotech perspective?
TRYP’s experience in medical development really stood out. Few companies in the sector have the breadth of cross functional drug development experience that they do. From drug development expertise, to manufacturing, to successfully having drugs approved through the FDA, the team that Tryp has assembled has the expertise necessary to have a drug approved.
What are your thoughts and on using psilocybin as a new treatment for rare diseases and neurological disorders?
I think it’s interesting and a somewhat fresh take on things compared with some other players in the space. It’s easy to see the potential of psilocybin to treat common, broad disorder categories such as depression and anxiety disorders but rarer diseases often lack any viable treatments and, relatedly, the route to licensing may be easier. We are definitely starting to realize that the potential of psychedelics may extend beyond mental health; so it's exciting to explore novel indications with Tryp.
From your perspective, are fibromyalgia and eating disorders something you believe psilocybin could be a breakthrough new treatment for?
Yes, I do. They both often feature problematic self-beliefs that are encoded too strongly. Psychedelic therapy works to create an opportunity for the relaxation and potential healthy revision of beliefs. Both fibromyalgia and eating disorders represent areas of significant unmet medical need. For instance, many patients suffering from fibromyalgia resort to opioids for pain relief. Exploring better treatment options for these patients using psilocybin is a very worthy endeavour.