Psilocybin Patents Demonstrate Growth in the Psychedelics MarketOctober 20, 2021

Public and medical interest in the use of psychedelics has steadily been expanding since the 1990s. Psilocybin is one of the most well-known psychedelic compounds. Psilocybin, also known as “magic mushrooms” is a compound produced by several species of fungi, and which has both psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties. Although psilocybin is still considered a Schedule I substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, some U.S. states are considering legalizing the compound for medicinal use. In November 2020, Oregon made history by becoming the first U.S. state to legalize psilocybin and present a regulatory framework for its therapeutic use.

Interest in psilocybin has grown in recent years due to its potential therapeutic applications for treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions. An increasing number of companies are seeking approval from the FDA and/or the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to test and market psilocybin therapeutics. Comparably, patents directed to psilocybin (and other psychedelics) are also increasing in number.

For example, on October 19, COMPASS Pathways, a mental health care company, announced that its newest psilocybin-related patent application was allowed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. COMPASS already has several patents directed to its anhydrate psilocybin, a compound which is currently undergoing Phase IIb therapy trials for treatment-resistant depression. The newly-allowed patent covers COMPASS’s Form A hydrate synthetic psilocybin, which has claims directed to an alternative crystalline psilocybin.

COMPASS is just one of many pharmaceutical companies that have filed patent applications for synthetic psilocybin and/or psilocybin derivatives. Other Applicants include CaaMTech, Bright Minds Biosciences, Eleusis, Cure Pharmaceutical, Yale University, Miami University, the University of Maryland, the University of California, and others. With the psychedelic drugs market expected to grow from just over $2 billion in 2020 to about $6.9 billion by 2027, there is a strong motivation to continue innovation in this field. Should clinical trials involving psilocybin and other psychedelics continue to demonstrate therapeutic efficacy, decriminalization of such compounds would prove just as challenging as (if not more so) than the ongoing process with cannabis.

Sarah M.D. Luth is an Intellectual Property Attorney in the MVS Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group. To learn more, visit our MVS website , or contact Sarah directly via email .

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