Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Filament Health describes itself as “the world’s leading, exclusively natural psychedelic drug discovery and extraction company.” The company is unique among the plethora of emerging psychedelic biotechnology companies in that instead of synthesizing analogs or new psychedelic compounds, Filament focuses on discovering, extracting, and purifying natural compounds.
On its website, the company states its “work will include protecting and increasing the global reserves of psychedelic plants by growing them in controlled environments and producing them regeneratively where they occur in nature.” It explains that “unlike synthetic drugs which can have thousands of variations, there are only a handful of effective ways to extract and purify the compounds in plants.”
Filament possesses a psilocybin Dealer’s License from Health Canada and a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) facility and is, according to its website, “one of the first…in the world” to have both. The Dealer’s License allows the company to conduct trials in-house and to propagate, extract, produce, distribute and sell its psilocybin products. Filament is pursuing an amendment to its License to cover all controlled natural psychedelics.
The company also owns patent-protected extraction technology. Its IP portfolio currently holds three viable extraction methods and one viable purification method. Each method is applicable to 19 psychedelic compounds.
Filament has partnered with UCSF’s Translational Psychedelic Research Program (TrPR) to run FDA clinical trials in 2021 that test their IP-protected extracts. The principal investigator, Dr. Joshua Woolley, directs UCSF’s Bonding and Attunement in Neuropsychiatric Disorders Laboratory, which conducts studies on psilocybin and MDMA treatment of mental disorders.
The first trial will test Filament’s proprietary psilocybin formulation in patients with Major Depressive Disorder. The other trial will compare that product to other proprietary formulations of a non-psilocybin mushroom compound, both in oral and “non-ingestive” forms.
In June 2021, Filament announced that it had produced its first GMP batch of pharmaceutical-grade natural psilocybin to be used in the trials. That same month, the company also announced it has grown its 20th variety of psychedelic (magic) mushroom. In a press release, Filament’s Director of Research Ryan Moss said,
We are excited to share that we’ve recently identified a cultivar that contains four times the psilocybin content of more commonly-known cultivars.
“In addition, we have identified eight additional psychoactive alkaloids present within fungal biomass, highlighting the potential for developing proprietary extract formulations. Findings such as these emphasize the need for further research on these cultivars and other psychedelic organisms, especially given the need for a strictly standardized dose in clinical settings.” CEO Benjamin Lightburn added, “we are encouraged by regulatory advancements such as Oregon Measure 109 and California Senate Bill 519, which advance non-pharmaceutical psychedelic-assisted therapy where naturally-derived psychedelic products will likely be preferred.”
Filament also launched Filament Foundation, which puts 10% of founder shares toward “non-corporate actors who play an important role in developing a natural psychedelics ecosystem.”