1st Jul 2021
Numinus Wellness Inc, a global leader in the production, research, distribution, and clinical delivery of psychedelic-assisted therapies, recently announced a number of key developments which lay the foundations of a psychedelics infrastructure in Canada. In March, Numinus received amendments to its license, allowing it to possess, produce, sell, test, and distribute a wide variety of psychedelics, including ketamine and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)1. In the same month, the company announced a new partnership to provide lab services to Optimi Health Corp, a mushroom brand in the health and wellness sector, at its Health Canada-licensed lab in Princeton, BC2. This was swiftly followed by the news that Numinus plans to expand its clinical research and testing capabilities by building a second research lab also licensed by Health Canada, enabling it to continue to provide these in-demand lab services for companies interested in testing and developing psychedelic-assisted therapeutics3.
The potential of psychedelics to provide effective and safe treatment for a range of mental health disorders has been receiving more and more attention over the last couple of years. The drug-heavy 1960s landed the substance with the reputation of being used by hippies looking to get high, but since the year 2000, the mood towards psychedelics has been changing. A number of scientific academic papers showed that when administered correctly, not only do psychedelic compounds cause no harm to the brain, but they can help heal mental health issues like depression and PTSD4. Respected institutions like Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; UC Berkeley, California; and Imperial College, London, all now have centers for research into psychedelics. Engineers in Silicon Valley take micro-doses of LSD to improve their focus at work5, and Netflix produced a documentary called Have A Good Trip – Adventures in Psychedelics6. At the same time, the regulatory atmosphere has also altered. In November 2020, Oregon became the first US state to entirely decriminalize psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in LSD) and legalize its use for therapeutic purposes7. California’s Senate has passed a similar bill to legalize psychedelics8; lawmakers in Washington state are pushing for the decriminalization of psychedelics9; and municipalities that include Santa Cruz, CA; Ann Arbor, MI; 3 cities in Massachusetts10, and Washington, DC11, have all decriminalized psychedelic substances.
One more factor driving the new embrace of psychedelics is the increasingly pressing need for safe and effective mental health treatments. The number of people with serious depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, stress, and other mental health conditions has been growing for a long time, with 10% of Americans thought to be suffering from serious depression in 2015, a rise of four percentage points since 199612. Over 17 million Americans experience serious depression at some point in their lives13. Politicians and public health leaders have been discussing ways to address the mental health crisis for decades, but COVID-19 sharpened the issue.
Fear about infection risks, loneliness and loss of income during lockdowns, bereavement, and anxiety about the future all help drive depression and anxiety disorders. One survey found that 32% of US adults developed eating disorders during the pandemic, while 12% reported upping their use of alcohol or other substances because of worry about the virus14. Approximately 40% of US adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in the first half of 2020, four times as many as during the same period in 2019. Domestic violence and abuse jumped, further affecting depression rates now and in the future, while long covid is also believed to raise the risks of depressive disorders.
The need for better mental healthcare is too urgent to ignore, and champions of psychedelics are seizing the moment. Aaron Raub, senior equity analyst at Ambria Capital, says that “Additional treatment options for PTSD are becoming more imperative by the day in a pandemic-stricken society.”15 Payton Nyquvest, CE at Numinus, agrees. “We know that currently available treatments for mental health disorders are often ineffective and can lead to major unwanted side effects,” he said. “To date, clinical trials for professionally supervised psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies have shown safety and efficacy, with fewer and less severe side effects than conventional medicines.”16
To those in the psychedelics sector, psychoactive substances suggest nothing less than a revolution for mental healthcare. Today’s antidepressants have to be taken on a regular basis for the long term, and come with side effects that are often bad enough that patients prefer depression. In contrast, a 2006 double-blind study into single doses of psilocybin and methylphenidate saw significant improvements in psychological well-being after 2 months, and over 50% of participants said it was one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives.17 Dr Evan Wood, one of Canada’s leading experts in psychedelics and the Chief Medical Officer at Numinus, says “I really think that there’s an opportunity to transform mental health care right now. I don’t think there’s going to be a small incremental gain when we go from a symptom management approach with daily medications… to something that you can approach mental health with curative intent.18”
Numinus is playing a key role in building an infrastructure for producing, developing, and testing psychedelic-based therapies. It’s the first public company in Canada with a license to trade, possess, produce, test, develop, and distribute psychedelic substances. The new license permits Numinus to work with MDMA, ketamine, psilocin, DMT, N-Methyl-3,4, and mescaline, as well as LSD and psilocybin, thus enabling it to serve many psychedelics companies wishing to develop therapies and carry out trials. Numinus’ plans to create another research lab in a new building adjacent to its current premises will expand its capacity for testing and innovation, and the company intends to offer more analytics and clinical testing for psychedelics and other contract services19. Its partnership with Optimi further emphasizes the value that Numinus is bringing to Canada’s psychedelics’ companies. Optimi wanted to develop better psychedelics compounds from extracts of magic mushrooms, but it hadn’t yet received its own dealer’s license needed for some of the research. It chose to use Numinus’ facilities rather than wait until its application is approved.20 The partnership has already borne fruit; in early May, Numinus and Optimi jointly submitted a pre-clinical trial application to Health Canada for an all-natural psilocybin extract. Optimi plans to use the new formulation for human clinical trials, a dosing study, and then further trials for various health conditions, all under the auspices of Numinus.21
As well as creating an infrastructure for development and testing for psychedelic companies, this also gives the company a protective edge over rivals and future rivals. Numinus is still a relatively small player in a nascent market, but it has a number of important assets that Ian Lyall, editor and a director of Proactive VC group, says “put some clear blue water between it and the emerging competition.”22 Numinus is the only company that’s licensed to work with the full range of psychedelics, and to produce and extract psilocybin from mushrooms. It’s aligned with a number of respected scientists, and has partnerships with many significant organizations in the psychedelics space, including MAPS, with whom Numinus is working on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and on Canada’s first compassionate use trial for psilocybin for substance use disorder. In April, Numinus announced another partnership, this time with KGK Science, for a landmark phase 1 clinical trial for an extract of psilocybin formulated at its bioscience lab23. Established in 2019, Numinus covers the entire value chain for psychedelic-assisted treatment, including producing psychoactive substances, developing treatment programs and protocols, training therapists to administer and monitor treatment, and providing the treatment itself. It’s effectively an umbrella company covering three business units: the bioscience research lab, which provides contract lab services for analytical testing and development of new formulations; an R&D unit that builds therapeutic programs, trains therapists, and conducts clinical trials; and the health unit, which delivers treatment and supportive services24.
Numinus plans to expand across Canada, with community-based clinics for conventional psychiatric and psychological services, and larger, centralized hubs for psychedelic-based medical treatment. It owns 3 clinics – two in Montreal under Mindspace Wellbeing, and one in Vancouver – where it delivers a full range of therapy programs using psilocybin, ketamine and MDMA.25 The range of activity undertaken by Numinus has made it one of the leading psychedelics stocks in 2021. Its stock price is still under $1 per share (0.90 CAD)26, but the company’s value rose 192% in the six months leading up to April 202127. Many analysts have Numinus on their recommended buy list28, viewing it as an undervalued stock – its market cap is just $180 million29. In April, Numinus announced its Q2 2021 results, which included completing a public financing deal for $17.25 million in December 2020, and exercising more than more than $14.5 million in warrants and options. Since then, it’s also completed another public financing round for $40.25 million and raised another $1.48 million due to the exercise of warrants and options.30 Its cash runway is now $65 million, the largest of any psychedelic stock apart from Compass Pathways31.
While Numinus is still operating at a loss, it’s one of the few psychedelics companies already generating revenue, primarily thanks to contract services at its bioscience lab. The psychedelics sector may have some way to go before it reaches the giddy heights of traditional pharma, but many investors are hopping onto the bandwagon in the hopes of reaping rewards when prices rush up.
1 “Numinus Wellness Q2 2021 Results Highlighted by $17.25 Million Financing, Mindspace Wellbeing Acquisition and Clinical Trial Collaboration with MAPS PBC” April 29, 2021 https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/numinus-wellness-q2-2021-results-highlighted-by-17-25-million-financing-mindspace-wellbeing-acquisition-and-clinical-trial-collaboration-with-maps-pbc-846735411.html
2 “Numinus Wellness May Be the Best Penny Stock to Buy Today” March 26, 2021 https://investorplace.com/hypergrowthinvesting/2021/03/numinus-wellness-may-be-the-best-penny-stock-to-buy-today/
3 “Numinus to expand state-of-the-art psychedelics research laboratory” March 9, 2021 https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/numinus-to-expand-state-of-the-art-psychedelics-research-laboratory-819641899.html
4 Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial,” Griffiths et al. (2016) J Psychopharmacol 30: 1181–1197
5 “How LSD Microdosing Became the Hot New Business Trip” November 20, 2015 http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/how-lsd-microdosing-became-the-hot-new-business-trip-20151120
7“Lawmakers prep tweaks to Oregon’s voter-approved drug decriminalization effort” April 13, 2021 https://www.opb.org/article/2021/04/13/lawmakers-prep-tweaks-to-oregon-drug-decriminalization-effort/
8 “California Bill To Legalize Possession Of Psychedelics Clears Second Senate Committee” April 14, 2021 https://www.marijuanamoment.net/california-bill-to-legalize-possession-of-psychedelics-clears-second-senate-committee/
9 “Awaiting Awakening: States Next on the List for Psychedelic Legalization” April 21, 2021 https://thedalesreport.com/psychedelics/states-next-on-the-list-for-psychedelic-legalization/
10 “A Third Massachusetts City Decriminalized Psychedelics” April 23, 2021 https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cannabis/21/04/20585751/a-third-massachusetts-city-decriminalized-psychedelics
11 “Washington, D.C. Voters Approve Psychedelics Decriminalization In Nation’s Capital” November 3, 2020 http://marijuanamoment.net/washington-d-c-voters-approve-psychedelics-decriminalization-in-nations-capital-campaign-announces/
12 “National Prescription Patterns of Antidepressants in the Treatment of Adults With Major Depression in the US Between 1996 and 2015: A Population Representative Survey Based Analysis,” Yan Luo et al., Psychiatry, 14 February 2020 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00035
13 “Psychedelic Treatment with Psilocybin Relieves Major Depression, Study Shows, Hopkins Medicine,” November 4, 2020. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/psychedelic-treat¬ment-with-psilocybin-relieves-major-depression-study-shows
14 KFF Health Tracking Poll – July 2020, July 27, 2020 https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/report/kff-health-tracking-poll-july-2020/
15 “More Psychedelic Companies Are Going Public” February 2, 2021 https://money.usnews.com/investing/stock-market-news/articles/more-psychedelic-companies-are-going-public
16 “Numinus Wellness is emerging as a clear leader in the booming psychedelics sector” March 10, 2021 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/943397/numinus-wellness-is-emerging-as-a-clear-leader-in-the-booming-psychedelics-sector-943397.html
17 “Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance” Griffiths RR, Richards WA, McCann U, Jesse R (2006), Psychopharmacology 187: 268–283.
19 “Numinus to expand state-of-the-art psychedelics research laboratory” March 9, 2021 https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/numinus-to-expand-state-of-the-art-psychedelics-research-laboratory-819641899.html
20 “OPTIMI HEALTH and NUMINUS WELLNESS to Conduct Psychedelic Lab Research and Development” March 2, 2021 https://www.globenewswire.com/fr/news-release/2021/03/02/2185422/0/en/OPTIMI-HEALTH-and-NUMINUS-WELLNESS-to-Conduct-Psychedelic-Lab-Research-and-Development.html
21 “Numinus Wellness and Optimi Health Submit All-Natural Psilocybin Extract to Health Canada for Pre-Clinical Trial Application” May 11, 2021 https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/numinus-wellness-and-optimi-health-submit-all-natural-psilocybin-extract-to-health-canada-for-pre-clinical-trial-application-885818823.html
22 “Numinus Wellness is emerging as a clear leader in the booming psychedelics sector” March 10, 2021 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/943397/numinus-wellness-is-emerging-as-a-clear-leader-in-the-booming-psychedelics-sector-943397.html
23 “Numinus Wellness teams with KGK Science for clinical trial of Natural Psilocybin Mushroom Extract” April 28, 2021 https://ca.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/947964/numinus-wellness-teams-with-kgk-science-for-clinical-trial-of-natural-psilocybin-mushroom-extract-947964.html
24 “Psychedelics Treatment Concept Numinus Wellness Inc. Aims for Aggressive Location Expansion Across Canada” March 30, 2021 https://retail-insider.com/retail-insider/2021/03/psychedelics-treatment-concept-numinus-wellness-inc-aims-for-aggressive-location-expansion-across-canada/
25 “Psychedelics Treatment Concept Numinus Wellness Inc. Aims for Aggressive Location Expansion Across Canada” March 30, 2021 https://retail-insider.com/retail-insider/2021/03/psychedelics-treatment-concept-numinus-wellness-inc-aims-for-aggressive-location-expansion-across-canada/
27 “3 of the Top Psychedelic Stocks That Will Blow Your Mind” April 20, 2021 https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/3-of-the-top-psychedelic-stocks-that-will-blow-your-mind-2021-04-20
28 “3 of the Top Psychedelic Stocks That Will Blow Your Mind” April 20, 2021 https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/3-of-the-top-psychedelic-stocks-that-will-blow-your-mind-2021-04-20
“Numinus Wellness May Be the Best Penny Stock to Buy Today” March 26, 2021 https://investorplace.com/hypergrowthinvesting/2021/03/numinus-wellness-may-be-the-best-penny-stock-to-buy-today/
“More Psychedelic Companies Are Going Public” February 2, 2021 https://money.usnews.com/investing/stock-market-news/articles/more-psychedelic-companies-are-going-public
“Four Top Psychedelic Stock Picks for 2021” January 4, 2021
29 “Numinus Wellness May Be the Best Penny Stock to Buy Today” March 26, 2021 https://investorplace.com/hypergrowthinvesting/2021/03/numinus-wellness-may-be-the-best-penny-stock-to-buy-today/
30 “Canada Expands Psychedelic Approvals for Numinus” March 11, 2021 https://psychedelicspotlight.com/canada-expands-psychedelic-approvals-numinus/
31 “OPTIMI HEALTH and NUMINUS WELLNESS to Conduct Psychedelic Lab Research and Development” March 2, 2021 https://www.globenewswire.com/fr/news-release/2021/03/02/2185422/0/en/OPTIMI-HEALTH-and-NUMINUS-WELLNESS-to-Conduct-Psychedelic-Lab-Research-and-Development.html