This Week in Psychedelics

Plus Lusaris Therapeutics launches with a huge investment from RA Capital; Psilocybin continues to show promise in treating depression.

November 4, 2022

This Week...

Backed by RA Capital and several other investors, Lusaris Therapeutics is launching with $60 million to develop an under-the-tongue form of 5-MeO-DMT, a psychoactive compound found in the glands of the Sonoran Desert toad.

What makes this interesting is that not only is $60 million a large amount of capital this early in the game, but two of the backers are serious players: RA Capital, which boasts a total private deal capacity in excess of $1.3 billion, and Venrock, which has been around for decades and led Apple’s first venture round (and held a board seat for nearly 20 years). If you ever need evidence that psychedelics are getting the attention of the smartest money in the market, this is it.

Here’s more:

The New England Journal of Medicine posted the results of a recent study entitled, “Single-Dose Psilocybin for a Treatment-Resistant Episode of Major Depression.”

In this phase 2 trial involving participants with treatment-resistant depression, a single 25 mg dose of psilocybin reduced depression scores significantly more than a 1 mg dose over a 3-week period, but was associated with adverse side effects. Check it out:

Did You Know?

Did you know that a British archaeologist destroyed his career by saying Jesus was a psychedelic mushroom?

John M. Allegro was an Oxford-educated archaeologist who, in 1953, became part of the team of scholars who worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1970, Allegro published the book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, which argued not only that Jesus was not a historical figure, but that Christianity began as a fertility cult, and that the Jesus of the Gospels was actually code for Amanita muscaria, the psychedelic mushroom commonly known as fly agaric.

Allegro resigned his post at the University of Manchester in anticipation of the blowback—and there was plenty. After publication, Time reported that “15 distinguished theologians and philologists” had written an open letter denouncing the book completely lacking academic merit, to which Allegro replied, “I'd match my philology with any of that lot.” He died in 1988, the book having ruined both his career and reputation.

You can read more about Allegro here.