Recent efforts to legalize psychedelics for medical and recreational purposes have intensified after the legalization of drugs under Schedule I controlled substances designated by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 in multiple states across the USA. In the last two years, Denver, Colorado, Oakland and Santa Cruz, California, have decriminalized possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, often called magic mushrooms. The FDA has also shown enthusiasm to support the legalization of psychedelics for therapeutic uses.
Researchers have verified the potential of psychedelics in the treatment of mental health conditions. With renewed interest in commercializing psychedelic therapy, there has been a rise in the number of patent applications for its use.
What are patents and how do they work?
A patent is the legal filing made by a company or an individual, which, if approved, grants them ownership over an invention. Consequently, it prevents others from making, using or selling their invention without licensing it for a particular number of years. Patents are granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and their applications are kept secret for at least 18 months after filing. Presently, the effective duration of a patent in the pharmaceutical industry is 20 years, starting from the date of application.
Famous examples of psychedelics that have had patent applications are LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca and methamphetamine. In the recent past, psychedelic companies have announced a series of provisional patent applications for psilocybin.
Many psychedelic companies have recently filed for patents. However, since it is not compulsory to announce a patent application, it is assumed that many companies may be operating in stealth mode.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) routinely grants patents covering cannabis and psychedelics. Patent examination is carried out according to the same standards applied to other technologies. To gain patent approval, many companies alter natural psychedelics to create an improved drug, which provides the precise framework for research relating to the treatment of psychological or neurological disorders. An interesting article on Microdose, a patent insight website, stated, “Without patents, competitors could easily duplicate the manufacturing of a drug and there would be no incentive for anyone to create these new treatments. Many of these companies are filing for provisional patents. These applications are issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and it helps to protect a new invention from being copied during the 12 months before a formal patent application is filed. The idea is that it gives a company to test or refine a product before committing to the expensive and time-intensive process of a formal application.”
Considering all the advantages granted by the ownership of inventions, numerous companies have filed for patents. According to a Psilocybin Patent Filings Tracker that Psilocybin Alpha runs, here are some of the recent major patent announcements by pharmaceutical companies:
- 2021-03-11, Aion Therapeutic, US Provisional Applications Filed (4)
On 11th March, Aion Therapeutics Inc. announced that it had filed 4 new patent applications related to preparations of medicinal and psychedelic mushrooms to treat human cancers including breast cancer. It also includes using a combination of medical cannabis and medicinal mushroom preparations to treat interstitial cystitis and other bladder diseases and methods for producing emulsions and nano-emulsions for increasing bioavailability in these formulations. Herbert A. Fritsche, Chief Science Officer of Aion Therapeutic and former Professor and Director of Clinical Chemistry at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, stated:
“Based on these recent discoveries, we believe that it may be possible to improve upon the effectiveness of standard treatments for certain cancers including breast cancer as well as offering a new therapy for the painful chronic condition known as interstitial cystitis. We intend to announce the details of these very exciting discoveries now that the patents have been filed.”
- 2021-03-02, NeonMind, US Provisional Applications Filed (4)
NeonMind is exploring psilocybin (found in psychedelic mushrooms) as an innovative treatment approach to weight loss through a preclinical trial. Commenting on the patent, Psilocybin Alpha stated:
“The provisional patent applications include data derived from NeonMind’s initial preclinical trial that began in November 2020, which examined the potential use of psilocybin as a treatment for weight loss. NeonMind’s proprietary preclinical data shows promise that both low and high dose psilocybin may reduce weight gain and that the reduction in weight gain can occur in a short period of time.”
- 2021-02-05, Mindset Pharma, US Non-Provisional & PCT Applications Filed (3)
Mindset Pharma, a leading drug discovery and development company focused on the development of novel next-generation psilocybin-inspired medicines, has filed 3 final patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent mainly aims to treat central nervous system disorders. Psilocybin Alpha covered further details regarding the patent:
“The patent applications cover a comprehensive range of novel diverse proprietary compounds designed to deliver similar therapeutic benefits to psilocybin with a lower overall metabolic liability and predictable duration of action, along with their related processing methods, potential compositions, and therapeutic uses. The applications include both novel prodrug and deuterated derivatives of psilocybin.”
- 2021-01-06, Mydecine, US Provisional Applications Filed (7)
“The developing patent portfolio from Mydecine is targeted at addressing the known shortcomings of psilocybin for medical uses and includes novel drug design and delivery mechanisms, precise doseable formulations and new technologies for improved use of psilocybin in a medical context.”
Mydecine is an emerging biotech and life sciences company dedicated to developing and commercializing innovative solutions to treat mental health problems and enhance vitality. To better understand the medicinal properties of fungi-based compounds, Mydecine is producing therapeutic substances with medicinal mushrooms and psychedelic medicines for the professional healthcare market.
- 2020-12-15, Revive Therapeutics (acquired from PharmaTher), US Provisional Application Filed
In December 2020, Revive Therapeutics (RVVTF) filed for a provisional patent application for “novel combinations of certain FDA approved drugs with psilocybin as a potential therapeutic option to reduce the side effects and improve the effectiveness of psilocybin to treat neurological disorders.” The company has filed for provisional patents for psilocybin capsules, gummies, and oral strips.
- 2020-12-04, Lophora, US Provisional Application
Lophora is a drug-development start-up developing new rapid-acting drugs for central nervous system diseases including treatment-resistant depression. Its patent application covered the use of a “new chemical entity which has a different molecular scaffold from psilocybin but has the same ability to trigger biological responses via the serotonin 2A receptor with the difference being that it is selective, whereas psilocybin is a broad agonist that affects multiple receptors, this molecule. It primarily activates the serotonin 2A receptor. Theoretically, they have got a molecule that is safer because we can specifically target 2A without touching 2B”
- 2020-11-16, Revive Therapeutics (acquired from PharmaTher), US Provisional Application Filed
The patent application, entitled “Use of Psilocybin in the Treatment of Cancers”, outlines psilocybin’s use of significant unmet medical needs for liver carcinoma, melanoma, breast neoplasms, kidney neoplasms and acute myeloid leukemia. Fabio Chianelli, CEO of PharmaTher, said:
“We continue to broaden our psychedelic-based patent portfolio and build our psilocybin product pipeline in neurological (i.e. traumatic brain injury and stroke) and cancer disorders that have the potential to obtain FDA orphan drug designation.”
- 2020-11-12, Silo Pharma, US Provisional Applications Filed (3)
Silo Pharma, a developmental stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the use of psilocybin as a therapeutic, announced the filing of three distinct U.S. provisional patent applications. Eric Weisblum, Chairman and CEO of Silo Pharma, stated:
“Each of these provisional patents relates to the continued research and development of the central nervous system-homing peptides covered by the UMD option agreement to deliver certain compounds.”
- 2020-10-20, Allied Corp., US Provisional Application Filed
Allied Corp is an international medical cannabis company focused on creating and providing targeted cannabinoid health solutions to address today’s medical issues. The insights from Psilocybin Alpha regarding the details of the patent stated:
“Novel combination of psilocybin and proprietary mushroom formulation, as well as a novel treatment regimen targeting Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD), Depression and General Anxiety.”
- 2020-10-07, Mydecine/NeuroPharm, US Provisional Application Filed
“Psychedelic therapy enhancer, for treatment of psychiatric disorders, including enhancements for PTSD, that reduces the enzymatic breakdown of psilocin, the active ingredient in psilocybin that causes psychedelic effects, and may result in an enhanced psychedelic experience in the treatment of PTSD, whether by extended in time, intensity, intensity per dose, or a combination thereof.”
The provisional patent application covers the use of an enhancer that reduces the enzymatic breakdown of psilocin, the active ingredient in psilocybin that causes psychedelic effects.
- 2020-09-29, Field Trip, US Provisional Application
Field Trip Psychedelics Inc. is a company redefining mental health and well-being through its ground-breaking work in psychedelics and psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy. The company’s latest breakthrough is the creation of “a novel psychedelic molecule derived from the chemical structures of known psychedelic substances. FT-104 is designed to provide unique and useful pharmacological features to make a commercially viable alternative to naturally derived substances such as psilocybin, DMT and LSD.”
- 2020-09-21, Flourish Mushroom Labs, US Provisional Application Filed
The Flourish Mushroom Labs pending patent seeks to protect the invention that administration of psilocin and/or psilocybin results in an overall weight loss in individuals by reducing food cravings, counteracting compulsive overeating, and aiding in improving quality of diet by altering food choices. The patent covers “methods of using serotonin agonists, in particular, psychedelic mushroom actives, for weight loss, and use of microdose administration of psilocin/psilocybin to have the additional weight loss effect of increasing metabolism which, combined with a decrease in food cravings or compulsive overeating, or altering food choices to less calorie-dense foods, could result in substantial and beneficial weight loss.”
- 2020-09-18, PsyBio, PCT Application Filed
PsyBio Therapeutics is developing biosynthetic psychoactive compounds that offer a new paradigm of treatment to reverse mental health issues. The patent covers “methods for the production of psilocybin and intermediates and side products; modular biosynthetic production platform for in vivo production of psilocybin in E. coli.”
- 2020-09-14, Lobe Sciences, US Provisional Applications (3)
Lobe Sciences had announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Eleusian Biosciences Corporation (“Eleusian“) had added a new provisional patent application entitled “Facial Worn Device for Administration of Pharmaceutical Agents in Combination with Virtual and Augmented Reality Simulations” which was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a facial worn device combining virtual reality (“VR“) glasses for delivery of programmed virtual and augmented reality simulations. “This device includes a nasal delivery system for administration of pharmaceutical agents and/or fragrances at preselected dosages and times. Uses include methods and kits for alleviating unwanted memories and emotions linked with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD“) or mild traumatic brain injury (“mTBI“) with PTSD.”
- 2020-09-03, Aion Therapeutic, US Provisional Applications Filed (5)
According to Psilocybin Alpha, the patent application covers “new treatments combining healing compounds in medical cannabis with healing compounds from mushrooms (edible and psychedelic), and other natural plants known for their medicinal properties; formulation claims directed to methods of treating numerous conditions including cancer, psychiatric disorders, addiction (opioid and alcohol), viral diseases, obesity, and inflammatory disorders.”
- 2020-08-20, Psilera Bioscience, US Provisional Application Filed
Psilera Bioscience, a Florida-based biotechnology LLC, specializes in the clinical development of psychedelics and analogs. Its patent application covers “new chemical entities and delivery methods relating to psychedelics.”
- 2020-07-27, Mindset Pharma, US Provisional Application Filed
Mindset Pharma, a biotechnology company focused on developing next-generation psychedelic medicines and related technologies, announced the filing of a provisional patent application with the USPTO for a groundbreaking technique to synthesize psilocybin and psilocin. Mindset CEO James Lanthier commented:
“Access to high quality, low-cost, psilocybin is essential to the medical psychedelic market; as the range of clinical trials, academic studies, and innovative businesses entering the medical psychedelic market grows, demand for psilocybin will increase exponentially.”
- 2020-07-09, MagicMed Industries, US Provisional Application Filed
MagicMed Industries Inc. announced the filing of a provisional patent application covering “composition of matter, drug formulation and process of preparation claims for novel psilocybin derivatives. This patent filing is anticipated to be the first in a series of applications that together will protect the Company’s broad portfolio of novel psilocybin molecular derivatives, the Psybrary.” Dr. Joseph Tucker, CEO of MagicMed, stated:
“Our business model is to work hand in hand with pharma partners to assist them in taking excellent medicinal product candidates forward. In fact, we have already initiated talks with potential partners to assist them in the development of new therapies for diverse psychological indications.”
- 2020-06-04, NeonMind, US Provisional Application Filed
The patent covers the “therapeutic administration of psilocybin or psilocin (or analogs thereof) combined with supportive therapeutic treatment for a patient to provide weight loss benefits and treatment for related health issues.” The desired drug seeks to provide weight loss benefits and treatment for related health issues.
- 2020-05-26, Frontier Neurochem, US Provisional Application Filed
Frontier Neurochem is a global Life-Sciences company engaged in the research and development of plants and fungi-based neurotherapeutics pharmaceuticals. The patent it filed, covers “novel proprietary tryptamine compounds and methods of use thereof.”
- 2020-04-29, Revive Therapeutics, US Provisional Applications
Revive Therapeutics will work on novel oral dosage forms of psilocybin, based on the company’s wholly-owned patent-pending psilocybin formulations and its exclusive licensed drug delivery technology from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The patent application covers the “methods of production of psilocybin-based formulations, including sublingual sprays, effervescent tablets, hard-shell capsules, sublingual and transmucosal delivery systems (i.e. gum drops, oral strips, dosing pens); Psilocybin extraction and crystallization methodologies.”
- 2020-04-04, Orthogonal Thinker, US Provisional Application Filed
Orthogonal Thinker, a biotechnology company, has been working on psilocybin modifications to utilize its benefits, especially in creating antidepressants. The patent it filed in April 2020 covers the use of an “improved version of psilocybin named “Psilly”; proprietary formula that uses natural, rather than biosynthetic, alkaloids.”
- 2020-03-27, Champignon Brands, US Provisional Applications (4)
The patent covers the “combination of psilocybin and cannabidiol in treating mTBI with PTSD or standalone PTSD; “novel delivery systems”; treatments for PTSD and OCD that are enhanced by timely measured doses of psilocybin and cannabidiol.” The aimed treatment targets multiple pathological psychological diseases.
- 2019-12-04, CB Therapeutics, US Provisional Application Filed
CB Therapeutics, Inc. has successfully achieved the “biosynthesis of psilocybin, psilocin and related tryptamine-based compounds typically found in plants and fungi” and has filed a patent for the production process.
With several psychedelic patents being filed, pharmaceutical companies are edging closer towards developing revolutionary treatments that could change the traditional course of medicine. As the patenting process moves forward, the commercialization of drugs for therapeutic purposes will become more popular. This may eventually lead to the legalization of psychedelics in places that still haven’t changed the legality of drug use. Most importantly, the requirement of key strategies during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic has grabbed everyone’s attention. Medical advancements that have a profound therapeutic impact on individuals stuck in isolation have been the need of the hour. The surge of mental health disorders and other psychological and physical conditions has been evident during these trying times. Thus, these psychedelic patents are the building blocks towards a much-needed advancement for the medical industry and the treatment of millions of patients worldwide.