BetterLife Pharma is a Vancouver-based biotechnology company focused on developing “second generation psychedelics” and other new neuropharmacological drugs. It also began working on COVID-19 treatments. Its CEO Dr. Ahmad Doroudian, PhD, is a veteran pharmaceutical executive with more than two decades of experience.
In January 2021, BetterLife announced that it would create an Advisory Board for its next-gen psychedelic initiatives and appointed Hattie Wells as its first member. Wells, an ethnobotanist and expert of psychedelic compounds’ potential therapeutic applications, co-directs the European Breaking Convention psychedelic conference and advocates for drug policy reform.
BetterLife’s lead psychedelic-based candidate, BETR-001 (formerly called TD-0148A), targets depression. BETR-001 is an orally administered drug composed of a non-hallucinogenic LSD derivative known as 2-bromo-LSD. Dr. Doroudian explained in a BNN Bloomberg piece by Richard Dal Monte, “If we can get away from the hallucination part of LSD, it would greatly help to open the floodgates to treat a lot more patients than if you need to go to a clinic because you need to be monitored.” BETR-001’s application to migraines is also being considered.
Past research on 2-bromo-LSD has been hindered by controlled substances regulations, since the compound was typically created from LSD. BetterLife’s synthesis process, however, never generates LSD, so it’s not limited by Schedule 1 restrictions. This allows more efficient advancement of the company’s product. In the same BNN Bloomberg piece, Dr. Doroudian also stated that “2-bromo-LSD is a compound that has shown some efficacy, a compound that doesn’t have side effects, a large addressable, expanding market, pharmaco-economically feasible and patient-friendly.”
In September 2021, BetterLife filed a patent for BETR-001’s use against cluster headaches, adding to the company’s existing patents for synthesis, formulations, and methods of use of its pharmaceuticals. Clinical trials for BETR-001 are expected to begin in 2022, followed by phase II trials for treatment resistant depression and cluster headaches.