As the promise of psychedelic investments expands in North America, Australian investors are getting a tease on what could be coming down the line.
Last Friday (June 19), market participants were treated to presentations from three participants in the quickly growing psychedelic drug industry. The event was hosted by Melbourne-based investment and portfolio management firm Peak Asset Management.
The online presenters included: Peter Hunt, chairman of Mind Medicine Australia; Jonathan Gilbert, CEO and director of Eleusian Biosciences; and Steve McAuly, chairman and CEO of Empower Clinics (CSE:CBDT,OTCQB:EPWCF).
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Gilbert started by breaking down his heavy involvement in the alternative drug market, telling the audience that Eleusian isn’t his first foray into psychedelics.
Before his latest venture, Gilbert was involved as CEO of Tassili Life Sciences, a psychedelics research firm. Tassili went on to be acquired by Champignon Brands (CSE:SHRM,OTCQB:SHRMF) earlier this year.
Similar to Gilbert’s former venture, Eleusian is a research-focused operation investigating the medical benefits of psychedelic compounds. But unlike Tassili, Eleusian will become a public entity by way of an all-hands acquisition deal with GreenStar Biosciences (CSE:GSTR,OTC Pink:GTSIF).
When asked about the potential for a listing in the Australian markets, Gilbert said it would be worth exploring in the future, although he didn’t confirm an official announcement.
From an advocacy perspective, Hunt spoke at length about the current opportunity attached to the medical use of psychedelics in Australia as an alternative to treat various mental health conditions.
As per official data shown by Hunt, one in five Australian adults deals with a chronic mental illness, or about 4.8 million people. Based on a draft report by the Australian Productivity Commission, the total cost of mental illness and suicides to the Australian economy in 2019 was an estimated AU$180 billion.
Mind Medicine Australia, which has no relation to Mind Medicine (MindMed) (NEO:MMED), a public Canadian firm bearing the same name, is a non-profit group seeking to advance the conversation on psychedelics as a viable medicine alternative for patients.
Hunt said while there is currently no university-sanctioned research being done in the country around psychedelic compounds, such as psilocybin and MDMA, Mind Medicine Australia hopes to announce a critical partnership in the near future.
As the last presenter of the session, McAuly broke down how his firm has focused on an expansion into psychedelics; the firm primarily operates as a cannabidiol (CBD) product manufacturer in the US.
Empower Clinics manages a network of health and wellness clinics in the US, offering an array of products and services. Earlier in 2020, the firm launched a venture into psychedelics dubbed Dosed Wellness. The move followed a partial rights stake purchase for the independent documentary film DOSED, which follows the recovery path of a woman using mushroom medicine.
As Hunt indicated, the Australian market is in the very early stages in terms of availability and acceptance of psychedelic investments. However, it’s unquestionable that this investment trend is starting to expand across the globe.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.