Psychedelic Toad Venom Clinical Research Boosted by $80M in Funding

in Culture

Oxford-based startup Beckley Psytech in the United Kingdom announced August 15 that it raised $80 million to ramp up clinical trials and research using a pharmaceutical formulation of ​​5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine), a powerful compound produced endogenously by Sonoran Desert toad venom, to treat depression. 

The Series B financing was initially set at $50 million—but was upgraded to $80 million due to “overwhelming interest” from investors to support accelerating the clinical development of its psychedelic medicine research pipeline.

The financing round is led by Integrated, and the science-focused investor consortium includes Prime Movers Labs, which funds breakthrough scientific startups; Adage Capital Management LP, a Boston based institutional investor; Palo Santo; Delphi VC; Leafy Tunnel; Negev Capital; and existing investor Bicycle Day Ventures.

Clinical studies using psilocybin show huge potential to battle treatment-resistant depression, under the guidance of a therapist. But while a psilocybin experience can last five to eight hours, a 5-MeO-DMT session will last just one hour, which could radically reduce the cost of treatment. “Requiring a therapist to sit with a patient for the entire duration of a psilocybin, MDMA or LSD experience which is, say, six to eight to 10 hours long, is going to be resource intensive and expensive,” CEO Cosmo Fielding Mellen told Sifted. 

From Psychedelic Toad Venom to Medical Research

The toad’s psychedelic venom is a natural defense tool, but with limitless potential in medicine. Vice Media’s Hamilton Morris documented the Sonoran Desert toad in detail—calling the toads’ secretion the “most potent psychedelic toad venom on Earth,” which also makes it ideal for medical research.

As previously reported by High Times, the Sonoran Desert Toad—also known as Colorado River Toad—was discovered to contain DMT-like compounds in 1965. This particular toad genus, Bufo alvarius, is known for high levels of 5-MeO-DMT, which is otherwise very rare …

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Author: Benjamin M. Adams / High Times

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