Vancouver, Canada-based biotechnology company Nova Mentis Life Sciences was founded by Dr. Aylia Mohammadi in 2004. William Rascan became the company’s President and CEO upon Liberty Leaf Holdings’ summer 2020 acquisition of Nova Mentis Biotech, Nova Mentis’ wholly-owned research and development subsidiary.
The company develops psilocybin-based treatments for under-addressed chronic neuroinflammatory conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Fragile-X syndrome, which is described as “the most common inherited cause of ASD.”
In July 2021, Nova Mentis filed a provisional patent application for its proprietary manufacturing process of psilocybin and the tryptamine derivatives aeruginascin and baeocystin. It earned Orphan Drug designation for the use of psilocybin for Fragile-X syndrome in Europe and the United States in October and November 2021, respectively. Then, in December 2021, Nova Mentis announced with its US pharmaceutical partner Mycrodose that it had successfully created a transdermal patch that can deliver microdoses to patients with Fragile X syndrome. Other unique administration methods are in the works.
Nova Mentis Biotech is specifically exploring psilocybin as an anti-neuroinflammatory treatment for metabolic issues such as obesity and diabetes. This pursuit is informed by research that has identified inflammation along the microbiota-gut-brain axis as a “key factor” in these metabolic conditions, which are commonly comorbid with depression. Additionally, in the company’s preclinical studies of rats with ASD traits – in which the rats treated with psilocybin experienced reduced anxiety and cognitive problems – inflammatory cytokines and chemokines responded to the drug in ways that suggested it could help address obesity and diabetes. Nova Mentis launched studies of the microbiome in individuals with ASD in March 2021, followed by Canadian ASD clinical studies that began in May 2021.