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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Psychedelics

Psilocybin-like drug may help people suffering from anorexia: COMPASS study

The majority of participants reported significant improvements in their overall mental health

COMPASS Pathways psilocybin drug shows promise for treating anorexia with single dose
Vice President, Head of Clinical Sciences for COMPASS Joyce Tsai (left) attends the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in San Francisco this May. Photo via COMPASS Pathways

Forty per cent of people who took a psilocybin-like drug developed by COMPASS Pathways plc (Nasdaq: CMPS) reported reduced symptoms of anorexia after a single dose, but 90 per cent felt one dose was not enough.

That is according to a study from the United Kingdom-based biotechnology company published in the prominent journal Nature Medicine on Monday. The COMP360 drug is an investigational synthetic formulation of psilocybin developed by COMPASS.

The research was conducted among 10 adult female participants who received a single 25-milligram dose of the psilocybin drug. The company believes this is the first clinical research study to report the impact of psilocybin treatment on people suffering from the disorder.

It found that 40 per cent of participants had clinically significant reductions in eating disorder psychopathology three months later. It also found that 8 out of 10 felt the experience was one of the most meaningful in their lives.

Eating disorder psychopathology refers to the psychological and behavioural aspects of eating disorders, such as severely limiting food intake for fear of becoming overweight among those who suffer from anorexia.

Additionally, 70 per cent said taking COMP360 caused a significant shift in their personal identity and quality of life.

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Despite some positive results, 9 out of 10 participants said that one dose was not enough. A total of 158 women expressed an interest in participating in the study but only 10 ultimately met the necessary requisites from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The manual is a publication by the American Psychiatric Association detailing the criteria necessary for diagnosing mental health disorders. It contains written contributions from over 200 experts in the field of mental health and information on over 70 disorders. Each disorder described in the document has a set of symptoms that must be present for its diagnosis along with conditions that must be ruled out.

The psilocybin therapy facilitated by trained therapists was found to be safe and well-tolerated overall among all participants. Five out of 10 patients were found to have gained weight during the study’s three-month follow up but COMPASS says the gains were not statistically significant.

The study on the drug was held at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine last year. It was conducted by professors Walter H. Kaye and Stephanie Knatz Peck from the school’s Eating Disorder Center.

The data was originally presented at the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s annual meeting in Louisiana last year prior to being published in Nature.

“This study shows promising preliminary evidence that COMP360 psilocybin treatment could help people living with this difficult-to-treat condition. We are now looking to investigate these findings further in our larger phase 2 study,” said Guy Goodwin, Chief Medical Officer at COMPASS.

“Our findings suggest that a subset of people experienced significant improvements in eating disorder psychopathology. Our hope is that this study provides a pathway to continue to find better ways to address the psychology of anorexia from the inside out,” said Knatz Peck.

Study design and timeline. Image via Nature Medicine

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COMP360 is used for treating depression as well

The biotech company recently secured a US$50 million loan from Hercules Capital, Inc. (NYSE: HTGC) to help support its Phase III COMP360 program for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

At the end of May, COMPASS released data showing that the psilocybin drug was also efficacious for the treatment of depression in cancer patients — with over 50 per cent of participants who took one dose of COMP360 experiencing a remission in depression symptoms for 18 months.

The drug has been designated as a breakthrough therapy by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an organization that recently published its first draft guidance document on psychedelics research.

COMPASS reported having a cash position of US$117.1 million at the end of Q2 this year, a 52 per cent drop year-over-year from the second quarter of 2022. The London U.K.-based company also has U.S. offices in San Francisco and New York.

The company’s shares rose by 4.1 per cent Friday to US$9.13 on the Nasdaq exchange and have risen by over 18 per cent since the beginning of this year.

 

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