Ontario Brain Institute increases investment in Diamond Therapeutics startup to accelerate innovation in mental health
Emerging psychedelic drug development company Diamond Therapeutics has received new investment from the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), a not-for-profit organization that accelerates discovery and innovation, benefiting both patients and the economy.
An early believer in Diamond's precision, low-dose approach to psychedelic therapies, OBI provided the company with funding in 2019. Now, OBI has more than doubled its investment. Proceeds will support a clinical trial of low-dose psilocybin intended to begin in early 2021, pending Health Canada approval. The investment is in the form of a convertible debenture.
Tom Mikkelsen, President & Scientific Director, OBI: "There's an unmet need for the next generation of drugs in the mental health space. By furthering our investment in Diamond through the NERD (Neurotech Early Research & Development) program, OBI will help improve the evidence base related to low-dose psilocybin. We hope this investment will lead to more accessible treatment options for people living with anxiety and other mental health disorders."
Judith Blumstock, CEO and Founder, Diamond Therapeutics: "We are very grateful for this follow-on support. Initial funding from OBI subsidized compelling foundational research into precision, low-dose therapies, and OBI's continued support will help advance our work to the next level. OBI's backing will further our pursuit of accessible, low-dose, non-hallucinogenic therapies," says Blumstock. "We are working to deliver solutions that are safer and more effective, and can provide patients with an ideal therapeutic for the conditions affecting their mental health."
OBI's first backing helped fund several animal studies exploring the behavioural effects of low-dose psilocybin. Data from Diamond's early research rallied investors to an oversubscribed $2.8 million seed round in spring 2020.
Following its planned Phase 1 clinical trial of low-dose psilocybin in 2021, Diamond intends to conduct clinical studies in anxiety disorders, which represent the most prevalent form of mental illness.