One of the most recent entrants to the rapidly growing publicly-traded psychedelics space is Field Trip Health. The company successfully listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Oct 9th, 2020 under the ticker “FTRP”. It aims to redefine mental health and wellness with ground-breaking work in psychedelics and psychedelic therapies.
Field Trip Health is currently focused on providing treatments that guide patients through ketamine-enhanced psychotherapy (“KEP”). However, going forward, it plans to also offer psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy and psychedelic-integration psychotherapy using other substances, when permissible. Currently, ketamine is the only legal psychedelic medicine available for prescription by health care practitioners in Canada and the U.S.
Field Trip Health’s business model revolves around 3 principles:
(1) Providing best-in-class psychedelic-assisted therapy through its network of clinics in Toronto, New York, California, and Chicago.
(2) Drug development and advanced research on plant-based psychedelics through its newly formed drug development division. Field Trip Discovery (“FT Discovery”).
(3) Promotion and development of its “Trip App”, which aims to provide users with tools for self-directed consciousness-expanding activities. For instance, the App features mood tracking, personalized music, trip record-keeping, guided journaling, voice recording, and mindfulness content.
FT Discovery focuses on the research and development of psychedelic-inspired regulated medicines. The division has two independent activities:
Research and Development Summary
(i) Developing custom synthetic molecules targeting serotonin 5HT2A receptors. The first molecule being developed by Field Trip Health is FT-104, detailed in this recent press release. Field Trip Health has received positive legal advice with respect to the patentability and freedom to operate. By Q3 2021, Field Trip Health expects to complete the pre-clinical studies of this molecule.
(ii) Conducting research and development related to the cultivation, as well as the identification and isolation of new substances contained in psilocybin mushrooms and other related fungi, in partnership with the University of West Indies.
The drug discovery division is led by Dr. Nathan Bryson, Field Trip Health’s Chief Science Officer. Dr. Bryson holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a Postdoctoral Associate Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Furthermore, he has three decades of hands-on research and development experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, where he has overseen innovation, clinical development, regulatory, quality, and global supply chain affairs.
Business Expansion Strategy
Key elements of Field Trip Health’s growth strategy include (i) the development of additional clinics; (ii) expanding its consumer database via partnerships with other existing health clinics that do not currently offer psychedelic therapy services; and (iii) adding additional health care practitioners to increase its clinic growth levels;
Over the next year, Field Trip Health expects to complete the preclinical studies and obtain a utility patent for FT-104. It also intends to open 5 new clinics to expand its therapy coverage. By 2022, Field Trip Health is hoping to have a network of 30+ clinics.
Field Trip Health’s Psychotherapy Protocol
Field Trip Health has developed a psychotherapy protocol that involves a six-step process. To qualify for a therapy session, a patient will first receive a written referral from a licensed doctor in Canada. Upon receiving a referral, medical professionals at the Toronto clinic will review the patient’s medical history to ensure that there are no immediate contraindications.
A psychiatrist will then consult with the patient to assess whether KEP is a suitable treatment option. Following approval by a psychiatrist, Field Trip Health will then provide a second screening to ensure the patient’s physical health is suitable for ketamine-enhanced psychotherapy, and a treatment plan is developed.
The psychotherapist will meet with the patient to prepare for the treatment once a plan has been approved. Thereafter, the first dosing session is conducted with the patient. Immediately following the dosing session, a licensed psychotherapist operating out of the Toronto Clinic will provide exploratory therapy to help the patient reintegrate into their bodies and understand their experience. After the second ketamine session, an integration therapy session is provided to each patient. During this session, the psychotherapist will help the patient integrate the experiences using different clinical
psychology techniques to help drive habit change and outlook/mindset improvements.
A course of treatment is typically six dosing sessions with three integration sessions. Field Trip Health is also in the process of developing the Patient Portal for ongoing support to help sustain the effects of the KEP.
Psychedelic Legalization Outlook
Efforts to legalize psychedelic substances for medical use are underway in both Canada and the United States. Clinical trials are underway evaluating psilocybin, MDMA, and other psychedelic substances for the treatment of a myriad of conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and obesity.
Once completed, it is anticipated that federal regulatory bodies such as Health Canada and the FDA in the United States will be asked to approve these substances. Furthermore, in August 2020, Canada’s Minister of Health granted four individuals the right to use psilocybin therapy to treat end-of-life distress pursuant to a compassionate ruling.
Additionally, grassroots efforts in the US are underway seeking to either decriminalize the possession of psychedelic molecules or to create a legal, regulated market for psychedelics and related therapies. The cities of Denver, Colorado, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Oakland, California, and Santa Cruz, California have decriminalized possession of psilocybin, and many other cities are currently considering similar measures.
Through its existing clinics and its imminent expansion of physical clinic locations in other jurisdictions, Field Trip Health is looking to create a North American brand of trusted clinics for ketamine-enhanced psychotherapy, psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy, and psychedelic integration psychotherapy, enabling patients to more effectively and affordably address depression, anxiety, addiction, and other conditions.
As additional psychedelic medicines are legalized or approved for use in Canada and the United States, Field Trip Health will look to evaluate them for use in the clinics and, where appropriate, develop protocols to incorporate them into the clinics’ therapeutic offerings.
Furthermore, research into novel molecules like FT-104 and into the cultivation, extraction, and composition of psychedelic fungi at the Jamaica Facility may result in novel drugs that, if legalized, could be used in Field Trip Health’s clinics. Moreover, as existing psychedelic medicines become available for use in a therapeutic setting, Field Trip Health stands to benefit from the growing use of these substances to treat a variety of mental health conditions.
Former Analyst at Citi's Investment Banking division where I was responsible for covering a variety of sectors including healthcare, consumer, technology, aviation & logistics. My interest lies in profiling and evaluating companies that are operating in new-age industries with huge potential. The psychedelics market presents a tremendous opportunity and is increasingly garnering the interest of investors. There is sufficient literature investigating the therapeutic effects of psychedelics in the treatment of a variety of mental illnesses. I'm here to help you navigate through the Canadian listed players operating in this space. I will look to highlight the strengths of different players and differentiation in R&D, which is crucial for successfully driving the drug development process.