New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, in partnership with COMPASS Pathways, has established that psilocybin can be safely administered at doses of either 10mg or 25mg to up to six participants simultaneously.
The research, published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology, is an essential first step in demonstrating the safety and feasibility of psilocybin – a psychedelic drug isolated from the Psilocybe mushroom – for use within controlled settings alongside talking therapy as a potential treatment for a range of mental health conditions, including treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and PTSD.
Current treatment options for these conditions are ineffective or partially effective for many people, resulting in a significant unmet need. Early research has indicated a potential for psilocybin therapy to treat these groups, but no trials have been undertaken at the scale needed for regulatory approval to make the therapy available.
The trial is the first of its kind to thoroughly investigate the simultaneous administration of psilocybin. 89 healthy participants with no recent (within 1 year) use of psilocybin were recruited. 60 individuals were randomly picked to receive either a 10mg or 25mg dose of psilocybin in a controlled environment. In addition, all participants were provided with one-to-one support from trained psychotherapists. The remaining 29 participants acted as the control group and received a placebo, also with psychological support.
Participants were closely monitored for six to eight hours following administration of psilocybin and then followed up for 12 weeks. During this time, they were assessed for a number of possible changes, including sustained attention, memory, and planning, as well as their ability to process emotions.
National Institute for Health Research Clinical Scientist Dr James Rucker, the study’s lead author from King’s IoPPN and honorary consultant psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “This rigorous study is an important first demonstration that the simultaneous administration of psilocybin can be explored further. If we think about how psilocybin therapy (if approved) may be delivered in the future, it’s important to demonstrate the feasibility and the safety of giving it to more than one person at the same time, so we can think about how we scale up the treatment. This therapy has promise for people living with serious mental health problems, like treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and PTSD. They can be extremely disabling, distressing and disruptive, but current treatment options for these conditions are ineffective or partially effective for many people.”
Throughout the study, there were no instances of anyone withdrawing from the study due to an adverse event, and no consistent trends to suggest that either of the psilocybin doses had any short- or long-term detrimental effects on participants.
Professor Guy Goodwin, Chief Medical Officer, COMPASS Pathways, said: “This study was an early part of our clinical development programme for COMP360 psilocybin therapy. It explored the safety and feasibility of simultaneous psilocybin administration, with 1:1 support, in healthy participants, and provided a strong foundation to which we have now added positive results from our phase IIb trial in 233 patients with TRD, and from our open-label study of patients taking SSRI antidepressants alongside psilocybin therapy. We are looking forward to finalising plans for our phase III programme, which we expect to begin in Q3 2022.”
The investigators have since completed Phase II of the study, which has explored the efficacy and safety of psilocybin in people living with TRD and PTSD, and are analysing the data.
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The effects of psilocybin on cognitive and emotional functions in healthy participants: results from a phase 1, randomised, placebo-controlled trial involving simultaneous psilocybin administration and preparation (DOI10.1177/02698811211064720) (James J Rucker, Lindsey Marwood, Riikka-Liisa J Ajantaival, Catherine Bird, Hans Eriksson, John Harrison, Molly Lennard-Jones, Sunil Mistry, Francesco Saldarini, Susan Stansfield, Sara J Tai, Sam Williams, Neil Weston, Ekaterina Malievskaia, and Allan H Young) was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
About King’s College London and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
King’s College London is one of the top 35 UK universities in the world and one of the top 10 in Europe (QS World University Rankings, 2020/21) and among the oldest in England. King’s has more than 31,000 students (including more than 12,800 postgraduates) from some 150 countries worldwide, and 8,500 staff. King’s has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s is the premier centre for mental health and related neurosciences research in Europe. It produces more highly cited outputs (top 1% citations) on mental health than any other centre (SciVal 2019) and on this metric we have risen from 16th (2014) to 4th (2019) in the world for highly cited neuroscience outputs. World-leading research from the IoPPN has made, and continues to make, an impact on how we understand, prevent and treat mental illness and other conditions that affect the brain.
About COMPASS Pathways
COMPASS Pathways plc (Nasdaq: CMPS) is a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. Our focus is on improving the lives of those who are suffering with mental health challenges and who are not helped by current treatments. We are pioneering the development of a new model of psilocybin therapy, in which our proprietary formulation of synthetic psilocybin, COMP360, is administered in conjunction with psychological support. COMP360 has been designated a Breakthrough Therapy by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), and we are currently conducting a phase IIb clinical trial of psilocybin therapy for TRD, in 22 sites across Europe and North America. We are headquartered in London, UK, with offices in New York and San Francisco in the US. Our vision is a world of mental wellbeing. www.compasspathways.com
Availability of other information about COMPASS Pathways
Investors and others should note that we communicate with our investors and the public using our website (www.compasspathways.com), our investor relations website (ir.compasspathways.com), and on social media (LinkedIn), including but not limited to investor presentations and investor fact sheets, US Securities and Exchange Commission filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts. The information that we post on these channels and websites could be deemed to be material information. As a result, we encourage investors, the media, and others interested in us to review the information that is posted on these channels, including the investor relations website, on a regular basis. This list of channels may be updated from time to time on our investor relations website and may include additional social media channels. The contents of our website or these channels, or any other website that may be accessed from our website or these channels, shall not be deemed incorporated by reference in any filing under the Securities Act of 1933.
Journal of Psychopharmacology
Method of Research
Randomized controlled/clinical trial
Subject of Research
The effects of psilocybin on cognitive and emotional functions in healthy participants: results from a phase 1, randomised, placebo-controlled trial involving simultaneous psilocybin administration and preparation
Article Publication Date
This study was sponsored and funded by COMPASS Pathways plc, London, UK.
JJR is supported by a Clinician Scientist Fellowship (CS-2017-17-007) from the National Institute for Health Research (UK) and has received grant and congress funding from COMPASS Pathways. AHY’s research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. AHY has also received grant funding from COMPASS Pathways plc and honoraria for attending advisory boards and presenting lectures for Allergan, AstraZeneca, Bionomics, Eli Lilly, Janssen, LivaNova, Lundbeck, Servier, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, and Sunovion; and has received consulting fees from Johnson & Johnson and LivaNova. AHY is on the Editorial Advisory Board at the Journal of Psychopharmacology. R-LJA has received research funding and consulting fees from COMPASS Pathways plc. CB has received research funding from COMPASS Pathways plc. JH reports personal fees from AlzeCure, Aptinyx, AstraZeneca, Athira Therapeutics, Axon Neuroscience, Axovant, Biogen Idec, BlackThornRx, Boehringer Ingelheim, Brands2life, Cerecin, Cognition Therapeutics, COMPASS Pathways plc, Corlieve, Curasen, EIP Pharma, Eisai, Eli Lilly, FSV7, G4X Discovery, GfHEU, Heptares, Kaasa Health, Ki Elements, Lundbeck, Lysosome Therapeutics, MyCognition, Neurocentria, Neurocog, Neurodyn Inc., Neurotrack, Novartis, Nutricia, Probiodrug, Regeneron, ReMynd, Rodin Therapeutics, Samumed, Sanofi, Servier, Signant, Syndesi Therapeutics, Takeda, Vivoryon Therapeutics, vTv Therapeutics, and Winterlight Labs. ML-J, LM, SM, FS, SS, SW, HE, and EM are employees or former employees of COMPASS Pathways plc. SJT has received consulting fees from COMPASS Pathways plc and is an advisor for Clerkenwell Health and Albert Labs. NW has no disclosures to make in relation to this work.