Big Pharma’s migration to the nascent psychedelic sector is currently underway. Cybin Corporation, a mushroom-based life-sciences company, named pharma industry veteran Doug Drysdale CEO and former Eli Lilly executive Jukka Karjalanien as Chief Medical Officer.
Drysdale’s three-decade career in pharma gained serious momentum when he became head of mergers and acquisitions at Actavis in 2004. Drysdale served for four years at Activis, leading 15 corporate acquisitions across three continents and assisting in the raise of approximately $3 billion of capital.
After that, Drysdale worked as CEO of Pernix Therapeutics. Under his leadership, Pernix grew its valuation from around $80 million to roughly $800 million, raising over $465 million of capital.
“I am happy to be able to bring my pharmaceutical experience to Cybin and help the team develop psychedelic molecules into meaningful treatments for patients,” said Mr. Drysdale to GMR.
Drysdale explains that Cybin’s primary focus is to optimize the patients’ treatment experience. The company’s product development is based on improving how psychedelics work in the body, potentially reducing hallucinogenic effects and providing digital tools to support the patients’ treatment journey.
“My experience building R&D teams and bringing FDA approved products to market will help Cybin transform these psychedelic molecules into approved medications for patients with mental illness,” added Drysdale.
Former Eli Lilly veteran and Cybin’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jukka Karjalanien expects that clinical trials will determine the precise, minimal dosage for maximum treatment effects. “I suspect that three-milligrams will be an efficacious dose,” he said.
If Dr. Karjalanien’s hypothesis is proven correct, three milligrams of psilocybin in a sublingual film delivery mechanism will pass from under the tongue, directly into the bloodstream and on to the brain, proving a formidable alternative to a typical tablet.
When orally consumed, a pill is ingested and travels through the gastrointestinal system, explained Dr. Karjalainen. It is difficult to tell precisely how much of the dose is then processed by the liver. However, individuals might lose approximately 50-60% of that 25mg dose, he explains. The percentage that is absorbed is the bioavailable dose.
“With the buccal film dosing, bioavailability is 100%,” said Dr. Karjalainen. “The consumed dose is the available dose, to the clinical effect.”
These two gentlemen bring a combined 80 years of pharmaceutical expertise to the table. Their knowledge and experience should prove to be a formidable asset when applied toward the company’s goal of manufacturing magic mushrooms to improve mental health.