- Havn Life Sciences is undertaking a preclinical trial to investigate the effects of psilocybin on the immune system.
- Havn Labs president Susan Chapelle tells Truffle Report, given previous research into functional mushrooms which showed an anti-inflammatory effect, Havn Labs’ study could lead to new medications.
- The company has also entered into a partnership with Complex Biotech Discovery Ventures to research psilocybin extraction methods.
Vancouver-based biotechnology company Havn Life Sciences has announced it is undertaking a preclinical study to investigate if a single dose of psilocybin can impact the body’s inflammatory response and regulate the immune system. The study will be led by Havn Labs president Susan Chapelle, neurobiologist, and chiropractor Dr. Geoffrey Bove, and Havn Life advisor Dr. David Mokler in the U.S. state of Maine.
Study Could Lead to New Drug Discovery
To date, there has been limited research on the effect of psilocybin on the immune system and its potential to treat inflammatory and immune diseases such as neuropathy and arthritis. Chapelle tells Truffle Report that because access to psilocybin has been so restricted, little work has been done on researching psilocybin and inflammatory processes. “We know from other studies in functional mushrooms the massive anti-inflammatory impact other medicinal mushrooms have on the system, but this work has not yet been done with psilocybin. This will be one of the first studies to look at this as an observational outcome,” she says.
“The focus on the central nervous system is so important to mental health, but if the previous studies in mushrooms are any indication, and there are positive or negative results in these inflammatory mediators, there are so many opportunities for new medications to help patients and integration into the market, as well as more evidence to show regulators that this is a useful medication and this should not be a restricted compound. It’s an exciting and relevant line of research to be added to.”
Chapelle says the study would involve 20 male rats and 20 female rats, and will look at the difference in inflammatory mediators between the sexes. Published results are expected in Q2 of 2021. She believes this research will eventually lead to a comparison between synthetic psilocybin and natural compounds. “All of us are expecting to have outcomes between synthetic and natural compounds and knowing these differences for Havn is going to be a massive step towards proper dosing and developing medications that may be beneficial for immune patients,” she says.
In a statement on December 14, Havn Life executive chairman Vic Neufeld added this study was a first towards market authorization of new medicines. “We intend to pursue the filing of a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) application for psilocybin-based delivery methods, which may ultimately lead to new drug discovery,” Neufeld said.
Havn Life Sciences to Research Psilocybin Extraction Methodologies
Havn Life Sciences also announced on December 16 that it has entered a partnership with Vancouver-based cannabis research and development company Complex Biotech Discovery Ventures (CBDC) to study psilocybin under Havn Life’s Section 56 exemption to Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Havn Life’s exemption, granted by Health Canada, allows the company to possess psilocybin for research purposes specifically for the research and development of quality control methods.
The company said in a statement “Havn Life will be conducting a comparative study at CBDV lab that will test various methodologies of extraction to assess the merits and drawbacks of each.” Havn Life chief research officer Alexzander Samuelsson added the research “will also mean that Havn Life can rapidly develop our proprietary extraction methods in-house more quickly by eliminating the need to send compounds to third-party labs.”
Chapelle tells Truffle Report that the partnership is an incredible milestone in support of Havn Life Science’s goal of developing a library of natural compounds for researchers. “Our Section 56 exemption is for examining and developing standardization and extraction methodology for psilocybin. For making medications, we need standardized extraction and we have a lot of information but it comes from the grey market. To do this work required partnership because the amount of equipment required and lab facilities required is much more expensive than what we have available to us right now,” she says. Chapelle says the extraction research is expected to be completed by August 2021.
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.