Published on
May 14, 2020

Timothy Ko | CEO, Entheon Biomedical

Timothy’s passion for the Entheogen space is shaped by firsthand knowledge of the shortcomings of the current mental health system and through his exposure to psychedelics which he credits with saving his life. Following the loss of a loved one to a decades’ long fight with mental health and addictions, and through his personal experiences, Timothy was delighted to commit himself to the life saving potential of this new frontier of medicine.

What was the genesis story of Entheon? When and Why did you get in to the psychedelic medicine space?

Entheon was born out of necessity. There is an unmet need in the substance use disorder treatment market. A few years ago, I became responsible for the care of my brother who had a decades' long battle with substance use disorder. My parents, at their wits end, asked me to guide a course of treatment that would get my brother on solid footing, and hopefully allow him to live a "normal" life. My efforts started where most do, with residential treatment. The staff and peer guides there worked in earnest to facilitate the necessary psychic shift, but try as they might, there was a fundamental blockage that prevented the necessary introspective journey that would allow him to address the core issues. He relapsed and found himself on the streets, in another treatment centre, on the streets again, in a mental institution, kicked out, and finally landing in another institution that dealt with dual diagnoses. The sincere efforts of about 100 different professionals and my brother, did not yield success, as much of the interventions simply managed the symptoms associated with his restlessness, agitation, and compulsion, and layered yet another psychiatric medication over top of the source of his trauma and suffering. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, methadone, CBT, electroconvulsive therapies, proved ineffective in addressing the walled-off trauma that underpins addiction. Rather than provide relief, my brother was often medicated to the point where meaningful inwardly directed work was not possible Sadly, I lost my brother in March of last year to an overdose while he was a client of an institution. There are thousands of people like my brother for whom the conventional treatment modalities don't work. I made it my total focus to assemble a world class team of experts that were capable of helping people like my brother.

Entheon’s initial focus is on developing proprietary psychedelic-based products for addiction treatment. What made you choose the addiction market and why do you believe a DMT-based treatment is the most promising place to start?

Exposure to the ineffectiveness of the current treatment conventions, combined with the resurgence of research in the field of psychedelics, I knew that there was something within the molecules that held promise in the treatment of people like my brother. As a veteran psychedelic enthusiast, I knew that 5-HT serotonin agonists had the ability to facilitate experiences that were profound, and allowed for the viewing of repressed subject matter. Personally, I used DMT 6 years ago to help me break through significant walls in my own healing journey. DMT allowed me to dive into my experience and memory, and allowed me to re-contextualize my relationships, my narrative, my capacity for compassion, as well as my sense of connection to the "fundamental oneness" of all things. In short, it helped me break through areas of self that were walled off, untreated, and the source of disfunction. Psychedelics have the power to do that.

Addiction, though often characterized by chaotic, impulse-driven behaviour, is generally a reaction to an underlying trauma that is often obfuscated and compounded by the inherent chaos of drug use. The notion of self-medicating denotes a baseline state of existence that requires medicating, and for many addicts that is true. But the drugs and, paradoxically, the drugs used to treat the disordered use, rarely go to the source of distress, and rather manage the symptoms, leaving the internal make up unaffected.

Entheogens such as DMT go to the heart of the issue, and facilitate "openness" and "self-transcendence" which are crucial to internal reconciliation. Though framed often as mystical, and certainly feeling that way, there may be a simple and measurable mechanism at play that dictates this. In day to day life, the "default mode network" of the brain dictates normal predictable reactions, compulsions and areas of thinking. In the mind of someone that has disordered drug use, the strength of this network is results in strongly patterned, detrimental effects. Psychedelics disrupt the default mode network control in such a way that novel perception and experience are possible, enabling a re-contextualization of long standing internal issues.

From the perspective of safety, DMT has already been used in humans and is endogenous to the human body. It is a massively safe, and due to its potency, short duration of effect, and molecular size, a very suitable drug for therapeutic application.

What progress has Entheon made to date?

We have done an exhaustive literature review that has determined safety and therapeutic potential relative to other classic psychedelics. Entheon has worked steadfast to assemble a highly competent team of individuals that represent all of the relevant facets of a drug discovery operation. Our local team is comprised of established pharma, clinical, and pre-clinical veterans, and our advisory board is made up of some of the most respected and accomplished figures in modern psychedelic sciences. These people have all contributed to a comprehensive clinical plan that we will be taking into clinical trials next year. Announcements regarding the clinical trials site will be coming in the next few months, as will make declarations about our drug material partners. Candidates in both regards are in advanced discussions.

What can investors expect from Entheon over the next 6-12 months from both an operations perspective and a capital markets / go public perspective?

Operationally, Entheon will be announcing its phase 1/2a human trials site. We have a number of candidates selected but are in the process of finalizing. We will also be onboarding experts that will enable the development of non-DMT drug tracks. We are very excited by this, and feel that the addition of the molecule will open up the possibility for a varied approach to treating addiction. Crucially, GMP DMT necessary for human use will be in possession and ready to deploy in our study.

Upon the successful close of our current financing, we will begin preparation for public listing with an expected listing in Q4 of this year. Our team is well versed in this process, and has deep knowledge of capital markets so the stock will be in good hands.

Many people are quick to point our how expensive and time-consuming the FDA approval process is. What gives you confidence that Entheon can execute on a drug discovery strategy?

Drug discovery, though complex, is actually a very well understood regulatory and development process. With the availability of GMP drug supply, pre-clinical work, as well as the appropriate research partners and regulatory experts, making the results of your research fit the form factor regulator require is a well-established process. To our favour, the combined expertise of those on the team make us confident that we are not treading on unfamiliar territory. Additionally, DMT's efficacy has been well known culturally, and in early scientific research. It is our job to substantiate this understanding further with highly directed measures of safety and efficacy that regulators have no choice but to view objectively.