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Monday, June 27, 2022

Wake-Up Call: This Biotech Company Is Using Psychedelics To Treat Addiction

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It’s arguably been an exciting few weeks for Awakn Life Sciences Corp. AWKN AWKNF (FSE: 954), a Toronto-based biotechnology company that’s developing psychedelic therapeutics (medicines and therapies) to treat addiction. 

First, Stifel Financial Corp. SF analyst Andrew Partheniou initiated coverage of the company, grading it as a Speculative Buy. Partheniou also set an $8 price target for the stock. 

Then, the company announced the completion of phase 1 of its new chemical entity development program, possibly bringing it a step closer in its quest to deliver faster-acting and more effective drugs to treat substance and behavioral addictions.

“I am so pleased that this unique and innovative program that has progressed so quickly,” said Professor David Nutt, Awakn’s chief research officer. “We have patented two novel molecular series that so far replicate the in-vitro effects of MDMA and which are now ready to be optimized for the next step of in-vivo studies, which are needed before proceeding into humans.”

Could Psychedelics Be More Effective Than The Status Quo?

Substance and behavioral addictions affect more than 1.3 billion people worldwide, but available treatments are poor, according to Awakn’s website. Just 15% of people suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) seek treatment, and 75% of those people relapse within 12 months. Despite the high failure rates, $17 billion per year is spent on private addiction treatment. 

In his report, Partheniou says that Awakn’s ketamine-assisted therapy is being used to treat people with AUD, and that the company’s protocol is backed by a successful clinical trial. 

He also highlights Awakn’s stellar management team, noting that its members excel in the fields the company’s strategic initiatives focus on.

“Professor Celia Morgan and Dr. Ben Sessa have both completed world firsts in their ketamine and MDMA clinical trials for AUD, respectively,” Partheniou wrote in his report. “Professor Nutt is the global expert on substance addiction, leading AWKN’s second-generation drug pipeline. Lastly, Dr. (Shaun) McNulty brings a wealth of blue-chip experience to steward these pharmacotherapies through commercialization.”

Completing the first phase of the chemical entity development program builds on Awakn’s acquisition last March of 6 years worth of proprietary research from Nutt’s Equasy Enterprises, which includes details of newly discovered modes of action and benefits of MDMA like molecules, usually known as entactogens.

Other companies researching psychedelics for treating addiction include Toronto-based Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. MNMD MMED, which is developing psychedelic-assisted treatments for addiction and mental illness, and Cybin Inc. CLXPF, another Canadian company that’s developing psychedelic therapies to treat mental illness.

To learn more, go to awaknlifesciences.com.

This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

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