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Unlocking the Healing Potential of Safe, Natural Psychedelics

Dave Jackson Dave Jackson, Stockhouse
0 Comments| April 12, 2022

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When we last caught up with Filament Health Corp. (NEO.FH, Forum) and their CEO and Co-Founder, Ben Lightburn last July, our Stockhouse investors were introduced to an industry leader in exclusively-natural psychedelic drug discovery and extraction. The company engages in natural extraction technology commercialization, utilizing its intellectual property portfolio, in-house GMP facility, and Health Canada Dealer's License for all natural psychedelics. Filament says its mission is to see safe, approved, natural psychedelics in the hands of everyone who needs them as soon as possible.

Stockhouse Media’s Dave Jackson was joined, once again, by Mr. Lightburn to get our investor audience up-to-date with all things Filament Health.



SH1: To start off with, and for our audience that may have missed your first Stockhouse interview, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of the company?

BL: Sure with pleasure, who doesn't like talking about themselves? My background is almost entirely in the field of botanical extraction. That means extracting high value compounds from natural sources like plants and fungi and then selling those ingredients to a wide variety of different industries. I HAVE experienced in the food industry and the pharmaceutical industry and the cosmetics industry and the dietary supplement industry and in fact, the last company where I was CEO was a local Vancouver start-up called Mazza Innovation. That company eventually we were fortunate enough to sell it in 2018. With some of my colleagues from that company, we actually decided to start Filament because we thought it would be very important for there to be a naturally focused psychedelic drug development company. We didn't really see many other people with the skills expertise necessary to get naturally sourced drugs up and running off the ground and we thought it would be very important for us to do so because as we know, people prefer natural products in all aspects of their life, right?

People don't take synthetic caffeine in the morning. People don't prefer more blue artificial food coloring in their children's breakfast cereals. Right? We think the same thing may apply to the eventual psychedelics market. You don't have to look very far to find a distinct preference for natural in markets, such as the supplement industry or the cannabis industry where natural products do receive by far the most customer love and appreciation. So that's a little bit about me and about why we decided to start the company.

SH2: Can you update our investor audience and your Filament Health shareholders on any new company developments, including the patent you were issued this week and your recent licensing agreements?

BL: Yeah, there always seems to be lots of really good operational milestones coming out of the Filament team. Starting with yesterday's announcement that was actually our first issued patent. When you're following the psychedelics industry, there's a lot of announcements. There's a lot of news issued by companies. In the case of IP, that's often related to announcing the application for a provisional patent. Our policy is a little bit different. We actually announce issued granted patents. We're very fortunate now to have been issued to such for the extraction and standardization of natural psychedelic compounds from fungi and other sources. This builds to our library of proprietary technology, which we use to manufacture our natural drug candidates because we have such a good base of IP protecting the manufacturer of our candidates. This makes them very attractive licensing opportunities for third party drug developers and you touched on a number of recent licensing agreements that we've signed and announced. We now have four signed licensing agreements.
One recent one, which we're very excited about is a collaboration with ATMA journey centers. This is an organization that's focused on psychedelic assisted therapist training and they actually have an approved clinical trial registered with Health Canada which will actually train therapists on how to become psychedelic assisted psychotherapists and the fantastic thing in about this trial and this training program is that it will use our naturally derived botanical psylocibin. This is great because a whole cohort of trainers of therapists will be trained using our product. They'll become more familiar with a natural product and then perhaps begin to administer that to their own patients one day.

SH3: It’s been a busy 2022 for the company! Back in January you announced a Health Canada approval for a Phase 2 clinical trial using P-E-X One-Ten – the Company's botanical psilocybin drug candidate – in partnership with Cybin Therapeutics. Sounds exciting! Can you update on where the trial is right now?

Click to enlargeBL: So the trial, I agree with you, the trial in partnership with Cybin Therapeutics is very exciting. It was a phase two trial that was approved by Health Canada. In fact, the second time Health Canada approved our drug to go into a phase two trial. This trial has been designed to look at a very important question. This is whether it is safe and can be efficacious to give psilocybin therapy to people who are already on SSRI therapy. As we know, SSRI therapy is probably the most common therapy for depressed patients and so if we're bringing in a new and perhaps improved therapy in psilocybin therapy it's very important to know whether psilocybin can be given to people who are on SSRI and whether or not the psilocybin will be safe and also effective.

This means that you don't have to tell people to go off their existing SSRI therapy. It may have taken them many months and many courses of different SSRI’s to get one that they are happy with and so to be able to give it to them while they're still on, it essentially increases the addressable market significantly as well as makes recruitment for various clinical trials much more easy. Interestingly, the sort of common internet wisdom says that SSRI therapy interferes with psylocibin therapy. However, what limited clinical evidence has been and gathered suggest the opposite that it's that it does not interfere. So like I said, this is an extremely important question that has massive implications for all psychedelic assisted psychotherapy and we're very, very proud to be supporting this trial, which is scheduled to begin dosing in Q3 of this year.

SH4: Also in January, Filament reported inclusion into Health Canada’s list of licensed psilocybin producers. Can you expand on this for our investor audience?

BL: So on the 5th of January Health Canada restored access to psylocibin and MDMA through something called the special access program the special access program allows patients through their doctors to apply for experimental therapies on an emergency basis and up till January 5th, it was actually impossible for people to apply for access to psilocybin therapy. Obviously with the growing evidence and interest in psilocybin health Canada was listening and restored access to psilocybin through the special access program and correspondingly there's actually been a large amount of interest in the program. One of the problems, however, is the limited number of Canadian manufacturers that are both authorized to manufacture psilocybin because it's controlled substance and are also GMP. They adhere to good manufacturing practices. We are one of those companies we're in one of a very limited number of companies that have the capacity to supply through the SAP and hopefully very soon we may be able to see some patients actually being able to receive our drug or maybe some other drugs through the SAP but more details probably to come in the next weeks and months.

SH5: The Company looks set for strong growth in 2022. How are you placed to expand operations to meet demand?

BL: So our current facility where we operate out of its manufacturing capacity is approximately 2000 high doses of psilocybin per month which is more than enough to meet the demand of any clinical trials that are running anywhere in the world. So for the next, I would say a year or two at least our capacity is more than sufficient to meet the demands of not just our internal drug development but also the drug development programs of our partners which we're very fortunate to have. As we look further ahead towards eventual drug approval or perhaps very large-scale clinical trials or perhaps the opening of markets where psilocybin may become more legal. We may need to look at expanding our capacity. In that regard, we've actually already begun talking to large scale pharmaceutical manufacturing organizations in order to potentially transfer our manufacturing technology to them and essentially have them as an outsourced manufacturing partner. So it's something we're already looking at even though it might not be necessary until four or five years down the road.

SH6: What’s the long-term strategy for the company moving forward and what should retail, private equity, and institutional investors should be looking out for?

BL: I think the Filament story has a lot of attractive elements. We're one of the few companies that are positioned very attractively within both the traditional drug development industry as well as any other market that arrives in the meantime and what do I mean by that? Well in the actual drug development industry we think there are significant advantages to developing a botanical psychedelic drug. These are advantages related to IP related to the speed of drug development as well. Our platform allows for us to license our candidates to other drug developers. So not only are we excited about our internal drug development but we also get to participate in the upside of our partners as well as generate revenue during the drug development process. We think this is quite unique in the industry, the fact that we are revenue generating company now in psilocybin and we think that that's very attractive but also because of our natural focus, we think that with opening of other markets either here in Canada or globally, the fact that we're a natural player I think really will be attractive to participants in any other psilocybin market that opens up. As a very good example, Oregon state, which as of the beginning of next year will have a legal psilocybin market. Very interestingly in that market, synthetic psilocybin has been prohibited or at least in the draft regulations, psilocybin will be prohibited. Obviously, the people there prefer natural products and we're working on ways to get them products made with our technology.

SH7: And finally, Ben, if there’s anything I’ve overlooked please feel free to elaborate.

BL: I think we've covered all, share prices where they are in the industry obviously is something to briefly touch on but within Filament, I mean I think you can sense our excitement and my enthusiasm about everything that we have going on. I think especially in Filament's case it's a very attractive time for people to invest.

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

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