William (Bill) J. Ciprick | CEO, Optimi Health

October 26, 2021
Spotlight

What do you find exciting about psychedelics and their therapeutic potential?

The potential to unlock what might turn out to be an entire regimen of treatments is quite exciting. Even though this may only be possible because of the modern tools available to us today, the entire psychedelics field is in some ways both revolutionary and traditional. The big picture is the possibility to assist literally millions of people struggling with mental health issues to find solutions to help improve their personal outcomes. With depression, there is great promise from historical and recent microdosing studies using psilocybin which shows a decrease in symptoms and generally a better outlook and ability to function in life. In some instances, this has occurred from just a single dose. Today, there is research being done in the areas of anxiety, addiction, and other conditions and diseases which I believe represent the early stages of what’s possible in future.

What do you think is the most common misconception about psychedelics?

Addiction. Which is false. The fact is that researchers have been able to use psychedelics to successfully treat the actual disease of addiction. As a matter of fact, while psychedelics such as Psilocybin, MDMA and LSD have been negatively portrayed in society’s mainstream, a study published in the prestigious peer reviewed medical journal ‘Lancet’, ranks them far safer than tobacco and alcohol. In this study, researchers led by Professor David Nutt, a former Chief Drug Adviser to the British government, asked drug-harm experts to rank 20 drugs (legal and illegal) on 16 measures of harm both to the user and to others in society. The measures included damage to health, drug dependency, economic costs, and crime. Despite its legality and frequency of use over all other drugs, experts ranked alcohol as the most harmful by far. Psychedelics such as Psilocybin (mushrooms), MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD ranked in the top five safest drugs in the study.

What is Optimi focused on building?

We are building a sophisticated mushroom brand that focuses on the health and wellness markets. With a vertically integrated approach, Optimi Health employs innovative fungiculture with select mushroom species through advanced cultivation, quality production, and an extensive program of research and drug discovery.  We are committed to all-natural processes across functional-to-psychedelic product development and are dedicated to the future of personal wellbeing through what we call “all-natural human optimization.”.

What is the difference between a pure mushroom product and nutraceutical blend?

Practically speaking, a pure mushroom product utilizes the benefits of a single unique strain, while a blend aims to bring together the benefits of a variety of mushrooms to create a form of entourage effect to derive a benefit multiple greater than 1:1.

What psychedelic molecules is Optimi investigating and for which indications?

For now, our focus is just on psilocybin as there are still so many opportunities with these amazing fungi. We have initiated a primary clinical dosing study to establish baseline efficacy aimed at assisting patients suffering from depression. Our work will evolve and expand as we learn to unlock its future potential, employing clinically proven peer reviewed methods and procedures. To that end, we have assembled a leading team of academic research partners to ensure the quality of our work is flawless.

Can you share more about your latest IP submission and clinical trials?

Our intellectual property submissions are meant to build a carefully considered pathway to ensure consistent levels of natural psilocybin are in each formulation delivered to potential patients. At Optimi, our entire team believes that natural compounds offer the best possible formulations, unlike the synthetic alternative which is subject to consistency challenges. We are confident we have solved those challenges and have a clear path towards the delivery of high-quality therapeutic adjuncts. Our initial dosing study conducted in conjunction with Numinus as our interim product supplier, and the University of Calgary as clinical trial coordinator, aims to quantify formulation dosages offering maximum consistent benefit to potential patients. Moving forward, we’ll utilize these results to create novel formulations designed to validate their specific ability to assist those individuals suffering from depression.   

What advantages will your mushroom production and research facility bring Optimi once it is completed?

More than anything else, it demonstrates our belief that only a true ‘hands-on’ approach encompassing every step of the process through constant monitoring and relentless optimization, will ensure that we can fully adhere to our commitment to producing the highest quality, all-natural, psilocybin and functional mushroom strains. I think any company that tries to cut corners will likely deliver a substandard product. Since we set out to help people with mental health issues, we take our work extremely seriously. We don’t aim to make ‘acceptable’ products, we are 100% focused on creating the very best, superior products. So, our production facilities emulate our values and are built to meet GMP certification – so we can stand behind a guarantee that the quality and purity of our products will be industry leading.

What excites you the most about Optimi’s future?

Right now? The fact we are nearing so many milestones! Our facilities are almost complete, we are ticking off the boxes with our applications to Health Canada and are not being met with any resistance whatsoever. Our academic affiliations are advancing smoothly, the clinical trial process is underway and our functional mushroom retail products are headed to market! All-in-all, I’d say we have lots to be excited about – so it’s hard to pick one. But I will say I’m excited to be working with the great team we have assembled. It's a joy to work with a team that brings so much commitment and passion to the job!

What do you see the future of psychedelic medicines being and what will their impact be on healthcare as a whole?

It's Big! Mental Health issues – especially depression, may have never been so visibly prevalent ever before. We have new technologies and an increasingly enlightened society looking for answers. Once new ways of unlocking therapies are proven and have become readily available, I feel certain that we will see blockbuster drug formulations and innovative solutions that will evolve and dominate the field. It will require experienced developers, researchers and thought leaders to steer this exciting new area of treatment. We are just at the beginning of this journey and of the impact psychedelic medicines could have on healthcare around the world. I personally foresee a day where access to psilocybin from health professionals evolves into one of the “go-to” therapeutic approaches for many different disease categories. The future potential is immense, and we see our place in that timeline. That’s why we show up and do what we do every day. It's important work and we know it!
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