- Lobe Sciences CEO and director Philip Young tells Truffle Report about the company’s research into the use of psilocybin for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Lobe Sciences is also developing a nasal mist device for the delivery of microdoses of psychedelic drugs.
- Young says the company believes that patient outcomes can be improved if they can participate in psychedelic therapies outside of a traditional clinical environment.
“I love the challenge of drug development,” Philip Young says of his decision to join the team at emerging life sciences company Lobe Sciences. “And [I love] getting compounds through the regulatory process, whether that be the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) or Health Canada, to do something that really enhances and improves patients’ lives. Lobe Sciences fits that description perfectly,” Young tells Truffle Report.
For the past 30 years, Young has worked in the biotechnology industry, including spending the last 20-plus years acting as an executive officer of multiple public companies before becoming the CEO and director at Lobe. “I jumped at the opportunity [to join Lobe Sciences] because I believe that next to cancer, the most underfunded and underserved frontier is mental health,” he says. “There are so many things that have been dealt with the same way for decades with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). There’s been nothing new to help patients with various mental illnesses other than the new derivatives and new variations of the original SSRI. There has to be better.”
Psilocybin for Traumatic Brain Injury
Lobe Sciences is currently focused on two research and development tracks: investigating the use of psilocybin for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and subsequently post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the development of a nasal mist delivery device.
Through a collaboration with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the company is pursuing preclinical research studies for the use of psilocybin and N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) for the treatment of mild TBI and PTSD. The research is initially focused on demonstrating the safety and efficacy of combining psilocybin and NAC, with final results expected later this year.
“Our collaboration is going to deliver groundbreaking data on the effects of combination therapy on brain trauma and PTSD,” Young tells Truffle Report. “We are sitting on the cutting edge of science. We will develop that science through the partnerships we’ve announced and we will be able to bring these therapies out rapidly.”
Development of Nasal Mist Device
Lobe Sciences recently completed a proof-of-concept of its proprietary nasal mist device which can deliver microdoses of pharmaceuticals, for example, psilocybin and NAC for the treatment of TBI and PTSD. “We have completed the benchtop design phase of the device,” Young tells Truffle Report. “We now have been able to demonstrate with our partner VisionWorks Engineering in San Diego that we can deliver a very fine mist of a defined molecular size the proper distance to reach the back of the sinus cavity.”
“We are moving onto Phase 2 where we are going to transfer it into a handheld device. We will finish the device later this year and then we will take that into a combination setting. I believe that we will get this nasal delivery device onto the market [in the next few years].”
Young explains that the purpose of the device is to deliver specific amounts of medicine at very specific distances into the sinus to reach the olfactory bulb which allows for direct access into the brain. “We believe by delivering microdoses directly into the nasal sinus cavities to the olfactory bowl area, we can deliver small doses and get the same outcomes you would get with the heavier doses of psychedelics. But this will allow patients to use a small handheld device at their homes or at a doctor’s office so they do not have to stay there for hours and hours,” he says.
Seeking the Best Patient Outcomes
Young says Lobe Sciences believes this nasal mist device will lead to the best outcomes for patients utilising psychedelic therapies. “Psychedelics have been around for centuries. The therapeutic intervention application of psychedelics is relatively new and the industry is relying on historical methods for doing it,” he says. “The existing psychedelic treatment paradigm requires patients to stay in a monitored setting, whether that be a clinic, special treatment room, or office. If they are delivered psychedelic treatments, they have to be monitored and that can be anywhere from two, four, six to eight hours. You need mental health experts to stay with their patients because of the consequences of the psychedelic they administer.”
“We believe that the best patient outcomes will come from patients being able to therapeutically intervene at home or in their own environment. All of this will be proven when we do our clinical studies to demonstrate our belief that treating patients this way is a viable option.”
Sale of Cannabis Assets to Ionic Brands
Lobe Sciences’ ability to achieve its research objectives has been fuelled by the sale of non-core cannabis assets related to Washington-based Cowlitz County Cannabis Cultivation, Young tells Truffle Report. “That is going to bring $30 million-plus of non-diluted capital into the company,” he says. “Through that transaction, we are acquiring over 105 million shares of Ionic Brands, which is a national cannabis company [in the United States]. That money will allow us to advance our programs as well as allow us to see a companion M&A opportunity to enhance shareholder value and allow us to create the fully integrated company that we want to be.”
Emily Jarvie is a writer and content creator whose work has appeared in North American, Australian, and European publications. Before moving to Canada, she was a political journalist for Australian Community Media in her home state of Tasmania.