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Our collective understanding of mental health is increasing all the time, with advances in neuroscience, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology and digital platforms.

Latest COMPASS news

COMPASS Pathways News | July 2019 Issue

Here are highlights of our activities in the first half of 2019 that we hope will move us closer to our goal of improving mental health care for as many as possible.

The resurgence in psychedelic research began two decades ago, with a handful of dedicated individuals and institutions studying the potential impact of substances such as psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine, in mental health care. Now, in 2019, psychedelic therapy is taking centre stage, with discussions on the subject taking place at high-profile global events such as TED and the World Economic Forum in Davos, as well as at mainstream healthcare and life sciences conferences.

We welcome this growing interest and are fortunate to collaborate and work with so many people who share our ambition of better care for those suffering with mental illness. Our commitment to our mission is as strong as it was when we began; we want to accelerate patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. Psychedelic research is a good place to start.

Treatment-resistant depression study in progress

Thirteen of our clinical trial sites are now active: we have three sites in the UK, three in the Netherlands, three in the USA, two in Spain, and one in each of Ireland and Canada. Further sites will be opening over the next few months. In total, our sites will be recruiting 216 patients with treatment-resistant depression, from across Europe and North America, to take part in this psilocybin therapy phase IIb trial.

As part of the trial recruitment process, potential participants are very carefully screened, by our trial sites and independent eligibility reviewers, to ensure their eligibility for the treatment. Our training of therapists is equally rigorous. We have now trained 65 therapists and assisting therapists in Europe, US and Canada. For a map of our current sites, click here.

Healthy volunteers study completed

We have completed our study of healthy volunteers, looking at the short- and long-term effects of medium and high dose psilocybin on social, emotional and cognitive functioning, compared with placebo. With 89 participants, this is the largest psilocybin study ever done. We are now processing the data and will be reporting full results later in the year.

Dr James Rucker, study clinician at King’s College London where the trial took place, said “To hear participants speaking afterwards about their deeply positive and heartfelt experiences was an emotional experience for me. ‘Blown away’, ‘profound and amazing’ and ‘years of the deepest psychotherapy’ were some of the phrases that come to mind. There was immense gratitude for the experience and for the attention to detail of the set-up and the study team.”

Investigator-initiated studies

In addition to progressing our own studies with psilocybin, we collaborate with select academic institutions and researchers, supporting research that could help patients and lead to a change in mental health outcomes. We provide our GMP (good manufacturing practice) psilocybin for these studies, free of charge, in exchange for the right to use the safety data generated. We are currently working or in discussion with 20 research teams on studies covering a broad spectrum of topics.

It is critically important that scientific research in this area continues, given the large unmet need in so many mental illnesses. At the same time, any innovation or breakthrough has to move out of the lab and into the reach of patients. We are committed to developing any promising results from early studies into the robust, large-scale research programmes required to generate the evidence needed by regulators, payers and health systems.

Funding our next phase of growth

We have raised $35 million to date, from a number of investors, all of whom are committed to our mission to improve patient access to innovation, and to see a shift in the way in which mental illness is treated and managed. We begin a further funding round later this month, and will use the money raised to drive our next phase of growth, operationally and in R&D. Our R&D work will include our own research, as well as any development programmes that emerge from our academic collaborations. Large-scale clinical trials require significant investment but are the only route by which we can move from innovation to patients.

Our team is expanding; we now have over 20 talented and committed people in our UK and US offices, as well as a thriving internship programme. This summer we welcomed interns from MIT, UPenn, UCL and Cambridge, working across different functions, including R&D, Clinical Operations, Patient Access, Business Development, and Technology.

We are already seeing the benefits of the Breakthrough Therapy designation that the FDA has given to our protocol of psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression. FDA experts are helping us with our Clinical Development Plan for psilocybin therapy, as well as our plans for additional studies. And we are continuing to talk to payers, insurers, and patient advocacy organisations about patient access, and to explore ideas for how we make psilocybin therapy available to as many patients as possible.

While psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression remains our priority and focus, our R&D team are also looking at other new compounds, innovative technologies and treatment modalities that might help patients for whom existing treatments don’t work. We are committed to bringing innovation to these patients as quickly as we can, and to understanding how we get people well and keep them well.

Your feedback

If you’d like to know more about what we are doing or have any comments about COMPASS Pathways News, please get in touch with us at info@compasspathways.com.

Welcome to Summer Interns

Summer is almost here and we are excited to give a warm welcome to our new interns at COMPASS Pathways! We were highly impressed with the experience and skills of our summer applicants. The interns will be contributing to our activities in various functions including marketing, research, and clinical trials operations.

Each brings their own unique skill set, and we can’t wait for them to add to our company’s success! Learn a little more about our Summer interns below:

 

     Simon Percelay

Studies: Masters in European Affairs at Sciences Po in Paris. I also hold a BA in Politics and Sociology from University of Cambridge.

Nationality: French.

Fun fact: I used to be able to read hieroglyphics.

Why COMPASS? I have a strong interest in depression as it has affected people close to me, and I chose to work at COMPASS because it gave me the opportunity to work in a field I'm interested in and for a goal that I believe in.


Rahul Sood
 

 

Studies: Neurobiology and Statistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Nationality: New Zealand.

Fun fact: I am Eimear’s identical twin!

Why COMPASS? COMPASS is at the forefront of understanding novel, nuanced models of mental health and psychiatry. I consider it a privilege to be part of a team who are innovating in an area which desperately needs advancement.

     Eimear Monaghan

Studies: I just completed my first year of Graduate Medicine at the University of Dublin, and hold a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford.

Nationality: I identify as Irish, though I have lived in England my whole life.

Fun fact: I have an identical twin and we have been involved in the Twins Early Development Study since birth.

Why COMPASS? I believe that good health is the most valuable asset and I admire COMPASS’s drive to accelerate the process of translating research into practice. I am excited for this internship because I get to understand and be involved in this process.

 

     Kate Anna Roberts

Studies: MSc in Cancer Biology at UCL Cancer Institute, graduating this summer!

Nationality: British.

Fun fact: I used to work at a nature reserve as a teen, doing everything from preparing enclosures for injured bats to chopping logs for beetles to nest in. It’s also where I discovered a profound fear of grass snakes…

Why COMPASS? Getting the opportunity to work in such an innovative therapy area alongside an inspiring team with such a refreshing approach inspired me to apply to COMPASS and further motivates me every day.

     Mandy Ho

Studies: PhD in Experimental Psychology, UCL.

Nationality: Taiwanese.

Fun fact: I am a big fan of Yuval Noah Harari.

Why COMPASS? I am hoping to learn the important things that cannot be learned in labs – whether that’s implementing an idea or maximising impact on the world. COMPASS seems like a great place to learn these things as a high impact start-up that is trying to tackle one of the most significant issues in modern societies.

     Maksim Lavrov

Studies: MEng Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Nationality: Estonian.

Fun fact: I am a Tesla fan and I have a favourite country – the Netherlands.

Why COMPASS? I believe in the value that psilocybin can bring to patients and in COMPASS having the best shot at delivering it. I also want to take part in the psychedelic renaissance.

 

     Lena Zhu    

Studies: Major in Neuroscience and Biology, Minor in Biomedical Engineering at MIT.

Nationality: British.

Fun fact: I love tennis, painting and playing the ukulele.

Why COMPASS? I am passionate about improving mental health awareness and better access to treatment. Having seen close friends and family suffer from mental health illness, I want to be a part of the cutting edge of new treatment and innovation in this field.

 

     Eric Wehner

Studies: International Management at WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management.

Nationality: German.

Fun fact: When in Berlin on an election day, you might very well find me campaigning. I have been active in youth politics for six years.

Why COMPASS? COMPASS fascinates me because of its disruptive potential for mental healthcare. It breaks with a decade-old stigma and aims to improve the lives of millions of people by doing so. That commitment and its dedication made me join COMPASS.

     Kendra Terry     

Studies: I just completed Masters in Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Teachers College and will be starting my PhD at Adelphi in the same field this Fall.

Nationality: American.

Why COMPASS? I am excited to join COMPASS after having worked as a Research Assistant with Dr Elias Dakwarat Columbia Medical Center on a study using ketamine to treat cocaine and heroin addiction. I for as long as I can remember have been interested in understanding what is ‘special’ about the psychological mechanism triggered by psychedelics that allows people to see long-term changes in behavior.

 

      Jack Jones

Studies: Graduated from BA Filmmaking at Kingston University last year.

Nationality: Welsh.

Fun fact: As a child I was a professional actor and appeared in a few commercials!

Why COMPASS? I find learning about everything COMPASS does incredibly interesting! Helping those with mental health issues is a cause I’m very passionate about and believe the current pharmaceutical treatments available are inadequate, so it’s nice to work at a place where what they do really matters to me.

 

     Drummond McCulloch

Studies: Just completed a BSc in Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow, about to begin an MSc in Pharmacology at Hertford College, Oxford.

Nationality: British.

Fun fact: I am heading to the World University Powerlifting Championships in June to represent Team GB with the rest of the Glasgow Uni team. I also visit Norway every year and like to hitchhike around.

Why COMPASS? Through studying the pharmacology of typical antidepressants and experiencing friends’ struggles with mental health treatments, I am eager to help rework the world of mood disorder treatment and psychedelics seem very promising as it stands!

     Pei Lynn Tann

Studies: MPhil Translational Biomedical Research, University of Cambridge.

Nationality: Malaysian.

Fun fact: I used to train professionally in figure skating as a child.

Why COMPASS? I am interested in neuropsychopharmacology and am excited about the potential of unconventional therapies such as psilocybin in helping those who struggle with mental health issues.

COMPASS Pathways News | December 2018 Issue

As 2018 draws to a close, we reflect on another busy year and share our highlights of the last few months with you.

We have continued to make good progress since our last update: beginning patient recruitment in five of our treatment-resistant depression trial sites; gaining approval and Breakthrough Therapy designation for our trial from the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA); reaching the halfway point in our healthy volunteers study; securing £25m in funding; and convening the first meeting of our Scientific Advisory Board.

We receive emails from so many people who are suffering, or are close to someone who is suffering, with treatment-resistant depression. These stories motivate us all every day at COMPASS. Our mission – accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health – remains critical while the incidence of depression and other mental health challenges continues to rise. More than 100 million people have treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and depression remains the leading cause of disability worldwide. We simply cannot ignore this and are determined to do our part in alleviating it. We remain focused on developing psilocybin therapy for the safe and effective treatment of patients with depression, for whom existing treatments do not work.

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) trial

Our phase IIb clinical trial for psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression has now been fully approved in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, the US, and Ireland. Further approvals are expected in additional European countries over the next few months. Patient recruitment has begun in trial sites in the UK, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

Treatment room in TRD trial

In October, we held an Investigator Meeting and therapist training for our North American sites. These sites, across the US and Canada, will begin patient recruitment in the first quarter of 2019.

Breakthrough Therapy designation

In October, the FDA awarded Breakthrough Therapy designation to psilocybin therapy as a potential treatment for treatment-resistant depression. Breakthrough Therapy designation is given to therapies for which preliminary clinical evidence shows a potential substantial improvement over available treatments. This is a strong endorsement for the potential of psilocybin therapy and one that will increase the chances of getting this treatment to the many people suffering with treatment-resistant depression. The designation means the FDA will be committed to supporting our clinical development programme and will work closely with us to ensure the process is as efficient as possible.

Breakthrough Therapy designation is also a mark of recognition for the vision and extraordinary work of generations of psychedelic researchers and therapists before us.

Healthy volunteers study

Our healthy volunteers study is halfway through. The study is taking place at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, and explores the short- and long-term effects of medium- and high-dose psilocybin on social, emotional and cognitive functioning, as compared to placebo. The study also provides a platform for therapists in our TRD trial to support volunteers under the guidance of our expert therapists, as part of their professional training.

We expect to complete the healthy volunteers study in the first half of next year and to report findings in the second half.

Fundraising

We have completed our Series A financing round, raising £25m from a group of investors who share our commitment to bringing Psilocybin Therapy to as many patients as possible. The funds will enable us to complete our healthy volunteers study and phase IIb trial.

Scientific advisory board

In November, we held the inaugural meeting of our scientific advisory board (SAB), a group comprising experts in neuroscience, psychiatry, neuropsychopharmacology, and regulatory science. With our SAB, we have begun to refine our clinical development plans and to explore ideas for additional studies in the future, to complement our work on treatment-resistant depression.

Looking ahead to 2019

Our progress and our achievements have been made possible by the dedication of our strong in-house team.

Our team continues to grow, and we are delighted that Hans Eriksson will be joining COMPASS in January as our new Chief Medical Officer. Hans was most recently Senior Director, Clinical Research for Depression and Pediatrics at H Lundbeck. He brings a wealth of experience in taking medicinal products to patients and we look forward to working with him as our clinical development programme continues. Ekaterina Malievskaia, COMPASS co-founder and current Chief Medical Officer, will take a more strategic role from 2019, overseeing R&D and our therapist training programme.

We enjoy a vibrant internship programme at COMPASS. This year we had 11 interns from leading European and US academic institutions, spending on average three months at COMPASS, and learning and contributing to different teams - from clinical trial management and operations, to market access, business development and fundraising. We will continue this programme in 2019.

In addition to our talented colleagues and enthusiastic interns, we are fortunate to work with an exceptionally skilled and dedicated group of advisors and partners. We are all excited about the next few months and each step that takes us closer to our goal of accelerating access to help patients.

In 2019, we will complete and report out on our healthy volunteers study. We also aim to complete recruitment for our treatment-resistant depression trial. While we are not pre-empting what the science will tell us or what the results of the trial will be, we have started the critical and complex work on market access strategy, so that we can be ready to bring psilocybin therapy to patients without delay and in a way that makes it accessible and affordable to as many people as possible.

In the spirit of the holiday season and on behalf of our board members, scientific advisors, investors and supporters, COMPASS has made a donation to One Mind, a US-based non-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating research in mental health though the principles of large-scale open science. We support and share their goals which are very much aligned to the work we are doing at COMPASS.

With only a few days left in 2018, we wish everyone a very happy holiday season, and all the best for the New Year. 

Your feedback

If you’d like to know more about what we are doing or have comments about COMPASS Pathways News, please get in touch with us at info@compasspathways.com.

Welcome to Fall Interns

Fall is here and COMPASS Pathways is thrilled to welcome new interns to the team!  We were impressed with the experience and skills of our fall applicants. After multiple rounds of interviews, six additions were made to our team. They have come from multiple universities and corners of the world, and we are excited to work with each of them! They are contributing to our activities in various functions including in marketing, research, and clinical trials operations.

Each brings their own unique skill set, and we can’t wait for them to add to our company’s success! Learn a little more about our interns below:

 

              Ali Mahomed

 

Hometown: Kingston upon Thames, UK
Favourite Food: Sashimi
BSc Statistics: London School of Economics and Political Science

 

 

 

 

 

              Candice Li 

Hometown: Changchun, China
Favourite Food: Matcha & Black Sesame Ice Cream
MSc Management: London School of Economics and Political Science
BA Business Economics: University of California, Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

              Nisha Thiara

 

Hometown: Leeds, UK
Favourite Food: Miso Pork Ramen
MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis: King's College London
BSc Psychology: University of Leeds

 

 

 

 

              Jade Raffle

 

Hometown: Suffolk, UK
Favourite Food: Sushi
PhD Cardiology and Genomics: Royal Veterinary College, U. of London
MSc Human Evolution and Behaviour: University College London
BSc Zoology: Queen Mary, U. of London

 

 

 

              Jake Jin-An

 

Hometown: Singapore, Singapore
Favourite Food: Fishball Noodles
BSc Actuarial Science: London School of Economics and Political Science

 

 

 

 

 

              Chloe Tan

 

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Favourite Food: Rice Krispies
LLB Law: London School of Economics and Political Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the news

Press releases

Science & technology

Psilocybin-assisted mindfulness meditation linked to brain connectivity changes and persisting positive effects

PsyPost article about how new research indicates that psilocybin-assisted mindfulness meditation is associated with changes in functional brain connectivity — and these changes are related to an altered state of consciousness known as ego dissolution.

Patient experience