Harvard Scientist Sets Out to Create Psychedelic Drugs Analogues

May 18, 2021 14:05:20

Jonathan Sporn, a former scientist at NIH and Harvard, has announced that his new company, Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals, has raised a total of $27 million in its Series A funding round. The firm intends to use the money collected to prepare four drug candidates for Investigational New Drug (“IND”) applications to the FDA.

This isn’t the first time that Sporn is venturing into the psychedelics sector. His first foray, through Perception Neuroscience, saw his team focus all their attention on developing a mental health drug from R-ketamine to treat depression that is unresponsive to existing medications. At the beginning of 2019, Sporn sold this company to ATAI Life Sciences, and the work Perception Neuroscience had done has allowed ATAI to begin clinical trials on the drug candidate it acquired when Sporn sold his company.

Now Sporn says that he would like to change approach in this phase of his involvement in psychedelics. Rather than go the same way as other companies that are studying existing psychedelic compounds such psilocybin in order to develop drug formulations, Sporn wants Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals to create or engineer analogues to these substances.

To achieve this objective, Sporn is assembling what he refers to as a team of “unusual people.” This team includes medicinal chemists who will be at the center of the efforts to create those analogues. Some of the notable team members so far assembled include Andrew Kruegel plus Dalibor Sames, both of whom possess extensive experience in engineering psychedelic analogues.

Sporn says that it is hard to obtain intellectual property rights for drugs derived from the existing psychedelic compounds, and his mission is to take the unbeaten road by creating analogues for which IP rights can be obtained and robustly protected.

Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals is also working to develop an artificial intelligence platform through which teams of researchers will be in position to administer psychedelic substances to mice, then use cameras to document how the mice behave during and after the psychedelic has been excreted from their bodies. This first-of-a-kind platform in the psychedelic space will make it possible for research to proceed faster and more accurately.

The company plans to undertake preliminary studies in the coming months so that the data it obtains supports at least two IND applications. One of those applications will feature an orally administered analogue of ketamine targeted at treating opiate use disorder and depression resistant to current treatments.

Already mid-sized pharma companies are expressing interest in buying Gilgamesh, but Sporn would rather enlarge his team of experts and work on his ideas for now.

The existence of entrepreneurs such as Sporn helps add momentum to the work being done by firms such as Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) in advancing psychedelic medicine by developing efficacious formulations.


NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/PULL

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