PT491 – Drug Development, The State of Biotech, and Exploring Non-Hallucinogenic Compounds

March 1, 2024
Featuring: Dr. Sam Banister

In this episode, Christopher Koddermann interviews Dr. Sam Banister: co-founder and chief scientific officer of Psylo, an Australian biotech company developing next-generation psychedelics.

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In this episode, Christopher Koddermann interviews Dr. Sam Banister: co-founder and chief scientific officer of Psylo, an Australian biotech company developing next-generation psychedelics.

Banister discusses how he got involved in drug development, how Psylo came about, and the hallucinogenic and non-hallucinogenic 5-HT2A agonists Psylo is working on. He talks about the compromise between immediate need and ambition, and the ethical considerations and possibilities behind developing non-hallucinogenic compounds: What can we take from the psychedelic experience for people who aren’t ideal candidates for one? Is the psychedelic experience truly necessary? And for what indications will these new Gen 3 compounds be most useful?

He discusses:

  • What we can infer about the volatility of biotech and the state of the psychedelic industry based on recent mergers and acquisitions
  • The long-term challenges of drug development and the scalability of treatment options
  • How the initial success of Spravato has played a role in allaying fears around new compounds
  • Head twitch response and concerns it’s not as accurate of a metric as we’ve believed
  • Australia’s decision to down-schedule psilocybin and MDMA, and the speed of implementation and licensing: How long will it be before people have easy access?
  • What he sees for the future and why we need to be careful with language around expectations

and more!

Notable Quotes

“I think the reality is, beyond any ethical consideration, there are just people who won’t want to have a psychedelic experience or are contraindicated because of other comorbidities, family history of psychoses, or other things. These are pretty challenging experiences for a lot of people, if you speak to participants in some of these trials. They’re not without risk. There are adverse events reported from these trials as well. So if we can see good efficacy for any given indication for some of these non-hallucinogenic agents, I absolutely think they will have value beyond whatever else is happening with psychedelic-assisted therapy.”

“Given the waiting times we have in the U.S., in parts of Europe, in Australia, and New Zealand as well, for psychiatrists, for psychotherapists; generally, I don’t see this as being something that will be resolved along the timelines that are needed for this to be a broadly accessible treatment for the numbers of patients who are going to need it. So I think that is probably the largest barrier, in my mind, to the broad deployment of these therapeutics.”

“I think this sort of unbridled enthusiasm needs a bit of a sense check, and I think people should be cautious in the language they use. …I think the communication to patients in this space needs to be done very carefully. These are not substances that are without risk. There are plenty of patients who can have very serious adverse events from psychedelics, and some of these can be persistent and quite problematic – more problematic than whatever disease they’re seeking to treat.”


Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You and Your World, by Robert Anton Wilson

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe

The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan

National Library of Medicine: Ethical Issues Regarding Nonsubjective Psychedelics as Standard of Care The Subjective Effects of Psychedelics May Not Be Necessary for Their Enduring Therapeutic Effects Compass Pathways enters into research collaboration agreement with Hackensack Meridian Health… Compass Pathways and Greenbrook TMS enter into three-year research collaboration agreement A Phenomenological Report on the Novel Non-Hallucinogenic Psychedelic Tabernanthalog

Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind, by Mike Jay AlphaFold2 structures template ligand discovery Psylo Announces Sponsored Research Agreement With Daiichi Sankyo to Develop Non-Hallucinogenic Psychiatric Therapies Otsuka Pharmaceutical to Acquire Mindset Pharma Bristol Myers Squibb acquires Karuna Therapeutics for $14 billion, boosting neuroscience portfolio AbbVie to Acquire Cerevel Therapeutics in Transformative Transaction to Strengthen Neuroscience Pipeline Psychedelic Funding & Public Markets in 2023 Prescribe an unapproved therapeutic good (health practitioners)

Dr. Sam Banister

In this Episode

Dr. Sam Banister

Dr. Sam Banister is the Chief Scientific Officer Psylo, Australia’s first psychedelics biotech company focused on next-generation therapeutics.

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