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How to Notch a Partnership with Big Pharma

Jocelyn Aspa Jocelyn Aspa, The Market Herald
0 Comments| April 11, 2022

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(Image via Mindset Pharma.)
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Psychedelic medicines are all the rage these days — and for good reason. It’s becoming more and more apparent the benefits psychedelics are having in neurological and mental health conditions such as ADHD, MDD, bipolar, anxiety, migraines, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and many others. The market is projected to reach US$10.75 billion in 2027, up from $2 billion in 2020.

Take companies like Mindset Pharma Inc. (CSE: MSET, OTCQB:MSSTF, Forum) who are actively contributing to this growth and are poised to be game-changers in the space.

Headquartered out of Toronto, Ontario, Mindset is a psychedelics biotechnology company currently focused on developing novel and patentable psychedelic compounds to treat a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Having launched just over three years ago, James Lanthier, CEO of Mindset Pharma, told Stockhouse Editorial in an interview that since then the company has solely been focused on discovering and developing what the company describes as next generation psychedelic medications.

Case in point, Mindset Pharma is advancing its portfolio of psychedelic medicines that are made up of four patent pending new drug families drawing on novel chemical structures, including its lead compound MSP-1014, which has shown to have superior preclinical characteristics when compared directly with psilocybin.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to create new psychedelic drugs for the future of the medical psychedelic space that are going to do an even better job of treating psychiatric indications than first generation psychedelics,” he said. Lanthier explained that first generation psychedelics include psilocybin, 5-MeO-DMT and drugs that have been known in the public domain for a long time.
To that end, the company is in a strong position to advance its four families of novel, optimized drugs thanks in part to a massive partnership with the McQuade Center for Strategic Research, a division of Otsuka Pharmaceutical that focuses on early-stage drug discovery for mental health and renal disorders. In other words, this partnership not only legitimizes the significance of the psychedelics market but puts Mindset Pharma in a league of its own as it marches forward in developing next-generation psychedelics.

Mindset Pharma — ahead of the curve

Lanthier told Stockhouse Editorial that while Otsuka Pharmaceutical isn’t particularly well known to North Americans, its drugs are very well known in the psychiatric space, effectively making it a top 10 global neuroscience company. He added that Otsuka is also the most involved, out of all the Big Pharma companies, in the psychedelic space.

As such, Otsuka’s involvement with Mindset Pharma certainly gives Mindset a leg up in the space because it is the first partnership of its kind and validates Mindset’s program.

“[The partnership] uniquely positions Mindset to be successful because it provides [Mindset] with a great source of funding from a top strategic partner that has unmatched expertise in getting drugs to market to address mental health,” Lanthier said.

All of this is to say that although psychedelics certainly aren’t new to treating mental health and neuroscience conditions, Lanthier said that psychedelic drugs have resurfaced in recent years as companies and organizations have focused on research and development of improving the first generation of psychedelic drugs and are chemically novel, so they have patent protection, it represents a real opportunity for the market to explode.

“Once those first-generation drugs are approved, [second generation drugs] are naturally where Big Pharma is going to want to go,” he said, explaining that second and third generation drugs will be patentable and different enough and superior.

In other words, Mindset Pharma is already ahead of the curve from its peers in the space thanks to its patent applications, which Lanthier explained “went in really early” compared to others.

“This is one of the reasons why [Mindset Pharma] has arrived at the first Big Pharma partnership in the space,” Lanthier said.

The partnership’s key focus

Lanthier explained that the partnership is focused on two of the company’s four families of drugs, centering on what he said are Mindset Pharma’s short-acting drug families as the duration of the trip is seen as one of the shortcomings of first-generation drugs.

“Eight hours is a very long time to have to spend in a clinic with multiple therapists overseeing your experience,” he said, adding that Otsuka spent a lengthy amount of time doing diligence on other companies in the space with similar products, but picked Mindset because it was impressed with all of Mindset’s data and patent applications.

The substance of the partnership will be that Otsuka is funding Mindset Pharma’s development of the two families so the company can finish off its preclinical development work.

“What that means is we’re still in a phase of taking a pool of different and really promising molecules and testing and evaluating them from a number of different standpoints to figure out which ones we’ll take forward into human clinical trials,” Lanthier said. He explained Mindset Pharma is finishing that work now, and then will take the steps required to move into clinical trials, which go through three phases before a drug can get to market. “The partnership is designed to run through to the end Phase 1.”

As such, Lanthier explained that Otsuka is funding all of that development and that it is non-dilutive, which he said is also beneficial for Mindset’s equity because it puts the company in a similar position as Otsuka.

At the end of the Phase 1, Otsuka will have the right of first refusal to negotiate a new deal with Mindset Pharma on candidates to advance forward into Phase 2 and Phase 3. Lanthier said that, overall, the partnership with Otsuka essentially de-risks Mindset Pharma from a capital markets standpoint, explaining that the ups and downs of the public markets don’t really impact or matter to the company.

“[Mindset Pharma] is hoping for a much bigger partnership down the road with Otsuka,” he said, adding that in addition to all the funding for the company’s programs, Otsuka has also paid Mindset $5 million for the right of first refusal.

Lanthier said the partnership will also benefit Mindset Pharma thanks to Otsuka’s expertise in bringing drugs through all of the developmental stages and clinical trials while also enabling the company to focus on new drug discovery.

“Beyond the two families [of drugs] we have partnered with Otsuka on, we also have two other promising new drug families and a roadmap of additional IP and new inventions we want to pursue,” Lanthier said. “It really positions us well for the future.”

The leadership team

James Lanthier, CEO

James Lanthier is a seasoned technology executive with expertise in corporate finance, public markets and mergers and acquisitions. Lanthier was co-founder and CEO of Future Fertility, an innovative early-stage developer of AI applications for human infertility. Lanthier has also assisted with the growth and successful exits of various technology-enabled businesses through the public markets.

Arvin Ramos, CFO

Arvin Ramos has a degree in commerce and is also a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. Ramos has over 15 years of experience in business and has supported a wide range of industries including mining, technology, and banking. In addition to his role as CFO of Mindset Pharma, Ramos serves as CFO of several junior mining companies.

Joseph Araujo, CSO

Joseph Araujo is a behavioral pharmacologist with experience in facilitating the discovery and development of central nervous system drugs. Araujo has cofounded and held executive-level positions for life science companies including CanCog Technologies, Vivocore, Karyopharm Therapeutics, NPM Pharma, Ketogen and Epione Animal Health. Araujo also did his graduate training in pharmacology at the University of Toronto and has done extensive research examining psychoactive drugs.

Malik Slassi, senior of VP of innovation

Malik Slassi was founder, president and chief scientific officer of Fluorinov Pharma Inc, which was acquired by Trillium Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TRIL) in January 2016. Lassi is a medical chemist with a track record of success in drug discovery and development in the biopharmaceutical industry. Lassi has extensive experience in successfully identifying and developing drug candidates across a wide range of therapeutic areas, including neurology, psychiatry and immunology. Slassi is also an accomplished inventor with over 130 issued and published patents and patent applications and has authored over 65 scientific review articles. Dr. Lassi holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Claude Bernard, Lyon, France and completed his postdoctoral training in the chemistry department at the University of Montreal.

The investment corner

The future potential of psychedelic drugs is swiftly in motion, and companies like Mindset Pharma are at the epicenter of this innovation and offer one of the best entry points. Although it can often be hard to differentiate psychedelic companies from another, Mindset Pharma is able to offer the top strategic partnership in the space with Otsuka Pharmaceutical that has done exhaustive diligence on the company and picked Mindset Pharma out of countless others to partner with.

Essentially, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals has done all the due diligence that an institutional investor would do, which should put investors at ease that a top pharma company like Otsuka has done the work already.

Now that Mindset Pharma can carry out its plans to advance two of its four families of drugs — and has the wheels in motion to advance the other two — Mindset Pharma will be one the one psychedelics company investors won’t want to miss out on.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.

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