Journey Colab is a psychedelic pharmaceutical company founded in 2020 by current CEO Dr. Jeeshan Chowdhury and COO Jennifer Pisansky. Journey’s mission statement says the company is developing psychedelic therapies “to heal individual mental health and strengthen communities.” Its first project is synthetic mescaline.
Journey launched with $3 million in seed funding from Apollo Projects, a venture capital firm that finances “moonshot” initiatives. Apollo Projects was started by OpenAI founder and former Y Combinator chairman Sam Altman.
Journey’s mission and branding are notably social justice value-forward, focusing on equitable access and inclusive reciprocity. Core to Journey’s structure is an inclusive stakeholder stewardship model. The company established a stakeholder-run Journey Reciprocity Trust that “holds equity on behalf of and for the benefit of organizations building an accessible and equitable mental health sector, as well as those working to protect the ecological origins of psychedelic medicines…[and] for the benefit of Indigenous communities that have stewarded these medicines.” In an interview with FierceBiotech’s Amirah Al Idrus, Dr. Chowdhury said, “To reach the people we need to reach, we must include providers and communities from the beginning in the development process.”
In March 2021, Journey Colab published on its website its stance on intellectual property. In it, Journey explained its departure from “business as usual,” which, the company stated, perpetuate[s]…inequalities” and is “fundamentally in opposition to the transformational nature of psychedelic medicines themselves.” Instead, Journey aims to embrace “a ‘third way’ to develop psychedelics that is neither not-for-profit nor traditional capitalism.” Upon developing novel, beneficial therapeutic approaches, the company vows to “patent these inventions to help ensure that we can return capital not only to our investors, but also share that wealth with Indigenous communities, groups working to conserve psychedelic ecology, and other stakeholders who will be benefitted via the Journey Reciprocity Trust.”
For its mescaline program, Journey is working with the US Food and Drug Administration on preclinical research and intends to run clinical trials to assess the substance’s efficacy in treating alcohol use disorder. In a Psychedelic Invest interview, CIO and indigenous health advocate Sutton King stated, “We’re partnering with the Riverstyx Foundation and Dr. Bronner’s on their Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund, which supports conservation, indigenous rights, land access, and water rights. We’re also beginning to think about our relationships with residential treatment centers and the delivery infrastructure that we’ll need to get this medicine to patients.”
Journey Colab has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, a Neo.Life article about decolonizing psychedelic pharmaceuticals and a VICE piece titled, “Is it Possible to Create an Ethical Psychedelics Company?” among other press hits.