Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Investors Scene. I’m Jeremy Szafron. Now, we have a fascinating show today. Our guest is going to be talking about the world of mental health. Now, it’s a huge industry. And big pharma is really looking carefully as to who these players are with certain IP, people that are coming into the market with something really impressive. And I believe that’s what this company has.
It’s a company called MYND Life Sciences, MYND. And it’s going to be– it’s trading on the CSE under MYND currently. I’m very excited to have the CEO of that company Dr. Lyle Oberg on the show. Lyle, thanks for being on.
– Oh, you’re welcome, Jeremy. It’s great to be here.
– Now, I’m excited. It’s a big week for y’all, and the fact of the matter is here we have an IPO. We have a incredible team and an incredible story. For those of the audience members who don’t know who MYND Life Sciences is, let’s talk a little bit about the company.
– Yeah, absolutely. We’re a company that is doing research and development into a gene pathway that we have identified. We’ve identified that it has the ability to stop inflammation. Myself, I’m a medical doctor by profession. I had a brief glimmer of the world of insanity and went into politics for 15 years. I was minister of social services, minister of infrastructure and transportation, minister of learning, and minister of finance in the province of Alberta.
I then became CEO of a gene sequencing company and followed that up with by being a founder of FLOWER, a cannabis company, and became the first CEO of that. And I also sit on three or four boards, TSX boards. And we’re really looking forward to taking this company public. Our chief researcher is a well world-renowned researcher of the name Dr. Wilfred Jefferies. He has 60-some patents. He has over a hundred articles published. And he works out of the Michael Smith laboratory at UBC.
– You were talking a little bit about the industry here. And in terms of UBC, I’m sure that the audience at home really, really understands what this potential looks like in terms of your research and development. So let’s talk a little bit about what the team is going for here on the IP side.
– Well, first of all, I think it’s important for your viewers to establish the importance of being at UBC. UBC is one of the top universities, certainly in the top two or three in Canada, and probably in the top 20 or so in the world. I think people would certainly agree with that.
Michael Smith laboratory– Michael Smith was one of Canada’s few Nobel Prize laureates. And Dr. Jefferies was actually the first person that Michael Smith hired. And he’s been there around 30 years. So the credentials that our research team have are second to none. This is not being done at a university in the Caribbean, for example. It’s being done in Canada. It’s being done in a world-ranked university. And I think that’s really, really important.
What we’re looking to do is identify a molecule, a single molecule, that has the ability to stop inflammation in the brain. And inflammation in the brain– the current thinking about major depressive disorders, that that is the cause of major depressive disorders. And there’s a lot of evidence. And if you happen to Google it now, what you would see is there’s articles coming out every couple of weeks about inflammation and depression. And we feel we’ve identified the how and why it works.
– It’s a massive, massive market. We’re seeing our neighbors to the South obviously destigmatize this much like they did cannabis in the early days, which is great. So there’s a little bit of some momentum here. Speaking of that momentum, though, you’re talking about something that is such a large industry Let’s dive into the opportunity here. This space is massive.
– Sure. Let me give you a couple of figures So it’s estimated right now that 322 million people in the world suffer from depression at one time or another, 322 million. In the late 1980s, when Pfizer brought out an SSRI called Prozac– and I think everyone has heard Prozac. Be it good or be it bad, everyone has heard about it And that first year that it came out, they netted around $3.8 billion US, $3.8 billion.
So the market is massive. And what has happened since the late ’80s is essentially nothing. There’s been variations on SSRIs, and there’s new SSRIs coming out. But there really hasn’t been anything that you can satisfactorily take to defeat depression to 100% of the time. And what we feel by the identification of that particular gene pathway– looking at and knowing the how and why medications work, we feel we’ve identified that.
– Yeah, no. It’s fascinating, and there are so many eyeballs on it right now. In terms of the research being done, I know that there are some patents. Where are you in the stages here?
– Well, we’re in a couple of places. So first of all, we’re looking at psilocybin. And we have currently 38 of the roughly 45 different section J exemptions, which is what Health Canada gives in order to be able to study analogs of psilocybin. And we have 38 of the 45 or so that are given out in the country.
Second of all, we’ve got four patents. And those patents, first of all, have to do with the particular gene and the modulation of that gene in disease states such as depression although we’ve kept it rather broad because it can affect other things. We also have a gene– have a patent specifically on depression and psychedelics as well as we’re experimenting– we’ve identified a biomarker.
And a biomarker is really interesting. Because what that means is that if you accept that inflammation is a cause of depression, then we have a biomarker that can actually identify that, which means that we can give you a blood test that will tell you if you have depression or not, if your symptoms you’re having has depression.
And more importantly, we can monitor as you get better, and we can monitor as you get worse. So that’s a huge step forward in what used to be, well, I’ve got all these symptoms. They’re not very good. I must be depressed. Doctor comes in and says, well, here, try this. We’ll be able to say, yeah, subjectively or objectively, you are depressed. And why don’t you go on this medication, and we’ll see results, and we can monitor those results?
– Yeah, it’s such an important cause. And the fact of the matter is a lot of people have been misdiagnosed with something else within that spectrum as well An interesting time here. The company is now public. And it gives you access to so much more– access to liquidity and many, many more things. For people that are involved in this space, it’s a crowded space.
But, fortunately, we’ve seen already quite a few of them, right? A lot of old this and old this. This is a much different story. This is the ability to get involved in something here out of the gates. It really, really, really brings a lot of credibility to the space. Speaking of which, let’s talk briefly about the scientific advisory board. I know that this is a huge leadership team here.
– Yeah, absolutely. So typically, with the scientific advisory board, a lot of companies go out and get popular names. They’re people who are the leaders in their field. And they put them on their deck. And everything’s wonderful.
We’ve actually approached it kind of differently. And what we’ve done is we wanted to get people who could actually help us. We wanted to get people who, yeah, had big names, ton of experience. But if we’re stuck on a problem, we want to be able to ask them what do they think of it. And to that end, we brought on Dr. Joe Martin, who is a former dean of Harvard Medical School. He was dean for 10 years. He’s a neurologist. He has special interest in CNS applications and CNS diseases.
We brought on Dr. John Trowsdale from Cambridge. So John is an immunogeneticist, which means that he can look into the genes, which is what we’re doing, and subsequently advise us with that. He’s a scientist emeritus at Cambridge.
We brought in Michael Brownstein, Dr. Michael Brownstein from the NIH in the US. And he was one of the people involved with the first Human Genome Project. So again, he brings a world of credibility. But more importantly, as we go through the FDA, we’re going to be asking him for advice. What is the best way to get through the FDA? How do we work with the NIH? All of these different things.
And then the last person we have is Dr. Mark Geyer. And for those people who are familiar with research into psychedelics, Mark was one of the founders of the Heffter Institute about 30 years ago. So this has been– Mark has been doing research into psychedelics for 30 years.
And to tell you what he’s like, we had to go through a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy in order to get to Mark because he’s inundated with people asking him to be on boards. And we talked to him about what we had. And he responded simply, absolutely. I want to be part of it. So again, these are people that are good, active, smart people that we can go to and help us solve issues, which is what we want in a scientific advisory board.
– Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s an exciting time for the company. I know that it’s just beginning here. You guys have been nonetheless working hard to get to this next milestone. If you will, though, I know we don’t have a glass ball here, but where do we expect– what are some of these short-term goals? What can we see out of the gate from the company?
– Well, what we’re doing right now is we’re pushing hard in the preclinical phases, pre-clinical trials. We’re going to be starting our clinical trials in Q4. We’re currently working with a group out of Australia who is doing a study on psilocybin and depression. We’re looking to utilize our biomarker there.
We’re looking to work with them and potentially have a lead candidate drug in that study as well. So we’re going to be pushing hard to get to IND status. And we’re going to be pushing hard to get into clinical trials by the end of the year.
I think that because this is not something new– like Wilf and his team have been studying this gene for up to 10 years. And they’re fully familiar with it. The whole depression side of it is a bit new for them. But it really fit in quite nicely to the research. So we’re not starting fresh. This is not a new theory. This is something that we’ve had in place for a long time.
And more importantly, for those of you, again, who are familiar with research, we have the knockout mice. And what knockout mice are is a mouse that has the gene and a mouse that doesn’t have the gene. They’re kind of scientifically engineered in order to do that. So we can test our drugs on mouse that has the gene and mouse that doesn’t have the gene. That’s really important to show whether or not it works. And we are fully confident that it will work.
– Yeah, what a fascinating time. Well, I’m excited to have you back on during those days to keep the audience updated rather. Dr. Lyle Oberg, CEO of MYND Life Sciences, which, again, trades on the CSE under the ticker MYND. Always a pleasure, thanks for coming on, and hopefully speak to you again soon.
– Yeah, absolutely, Jeremy. It was great.