Mushrooms,  psychedelics

Orthogonal Thinker closes $2.5M bridge financing to fund development of proprietary psilocybin drug

Orthogonal Thinker, EI.ventures, psilocybin, psilly, Maui Raw, David Nikzad

Orthogonal Thinker, a biotech holding company with the aim of bringing psilocybin to the world for $1 a dose, recently announced the closing of $2.5M raised in bridge financing.

The company aims to take itself and its psilocybin-offering subsidiary public in the next 12 to 18 months. With this latest round completed, Orthogonal has now raised approximately $4M in seed capital to-date.

Orthogonal Thinker, in the words of its founder, David Nikzad, was created with the aim of being a health-focused Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.NYSE). The company’s investment arm has interests in companies such as Airbnb and the online investment company, Betterment.

But Nikzad said the goal was always the distribution and research of compounds like psilocybin, hence the company’s aim of bringing Psilly to market at a price point of $1 a dose.

Proceeds from the bridge financing will be used to:

  1. Further develop the Company’s signature product Psilly, a plant-based prodrug of psilocin;
  2. Pursue intellectual property protection on Psilly and other products;
  3. Manufacture GMP products;

Psilocin is the compound psilocybin turns into in the bloodstream. EI.ventures, an Orthogonal Thinker’s subsidiary, has intellectual property rights for Psilly, which the company aims to bring to market in water-soluble pouches.

“This latest financing will allow us to further build upon our expertise in nutritional alkaloids, extraction methodology and developing foods that are clean label and we look forward to deploying our knowledge and products throughout the world,” said David Nikzad, Founder of Orthogonal. “The timing could not be better to begin leveraging and growing the resources of EI.ventures to position ourselves on the frontlines of the rapidly emerging psychedelics market.”

Nikzad said his company aims to bring Psilly to market wherever possible, but said he believes Colorado will most likely be the first U.S. state to allow for medical psilocybin treatments.

Open-source psychedelics

Orthogonal Thinker is dedicated to open-source IP sharing, says its founder: If other companies want to work with their IP or use their research, Nikzad says Orthogonal is happy to come to the table.

Based in Hawaii, Nikzad speaks openly about his gratitude towards psilocybin and what it’s done to mitigate the worst symptoms of his own mental illnesses.

“Our first priority is to start building datasets when it comes to psilocybin. If somebody is going to be able to get access to this product anywhere in the world, we need to make people comfortable with the product and how you do that is by supplying datasets to different government agencies and different lawmakers.”

–David Nikzad

Orthogonal’s founder says he aims to deliver psilocybin to the market cheaply while ensuring the product remains as unmodified as possible.

According to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, prodrugs are “enhanced versions of already-known pharmacological agents” which increase a compounds bioavailablility or even its half-life.

Orthogonal Thinker, EI.ventures, psilocybin, psilly, Maui Raw, David Nikzad
Psilocybin mushrooms.

“A lot, 99%, of the companies producing synthetic psilocybin and are creating new prodrugs are basically making something that is totally synthetic, like most of the food that we eat,” according to Nikzad.

Nikzad says creating an improved version of psilocin without making the drug synthetic is the goal: “The idea is taking a three-milligram dose and bring able to go an a couple-hour journey or doing some type of therapy.”

Microdoses are important, according to Nikzad, because the potential for a ‘bad-trip’ could produce a chilling effect on those who suffer from mental illness but could benefit from psilocybin or other psychedelics.

Making psilocybin into a pharmaceutical means harnessing its best parts while doing away with the downsides, Nikzad says.

In their consultations with psilocybin users, Nikzad said about 50% said they experienced nausea when eating psilocybin traditionally through “shrooms.”

Microdosing would allow that individual to become habituated to the compound, with a gradual increase in dosage to follow.

“Imagine taking a product you could take in your water, you’re going to put one to three milligrams, it’s going to metabolize through your liver very cleanly and within 11 minutes you’re moving into a euphoric journey. But it’s something you can control,” Nikzad said.

“We want people to have access, even if we don’t make any money out of our Psilly product,” Nikzad said.

“EI stands for emotional intelligence. We want to help people get emotional intelligence. It’s how you survive in this crazy world.”

 

–Ethan Reyes

Ethan Reyes is a journalist, poet and screenwriter from Vancouver, B.C. His bylines have appeared in such publications as Macleans, the North Delta Reporter and XTRA!

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