Dr. Ekaterina (Katya) Malievskaia is the chief medical officer and a co-founder of COMPASS Pathways. She also leads the company’s research and development efforts.
Katya and her husband George Goldsmith (chairman) partnered with Lars Christian Wilde (chief operating officer) to form COMPASS in 2016. COMPASS is a life sciences company that researches and expedites approval of psilocybin-based medical therapies through data sharing and close collaboration between scientists, clinicians, and therapists.
Katya says, “We have created COMPASS to improve patients’ access to innovation in mental health. Through our personal experiences, we have learned how challenging it could be to find the right treatment and right expertise in time. We also learned that it could make all the difference in the outcomes. We walked that path so others don’t have to.”
Katya earned her medical degree from St. Petersburg Medical Academy in Russia. After completing her residency training in Internal Medicine, she accepted a fellowship in environmental medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She went on to earn a Master of Science in public health from New York University Medical School. Her teaching credentials include Clinical Instructor of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Research Professor at the City University of New York.
Over the course of her 20+ year career, Katya has also worked in private practice, medical philanthropy, and global health. Besides treatment-resistant depression (TRD), another area of interest for her is improving outcomes in maternal and child health in Africa.
Personal Motivation for Studying TRD
Katya and George (a clinical psychologist) were driven to work on understanding and treating TRD because of a very personal experience. Their son developed severe depression after starting college in New York. He tried all the standard antidepressant therapies and medications, but nothing worked. “The more they were treating him, the worse he was getting,” she recalled. Katya dropped everything and immersed herself in the science to understand TRD. Then, during one sleepless night she started reading about psilocybin. “We found out that research on one compound in particular – psilocybin – had been carried out for nearly 50 years, with positive results in treating depression and anxiety. Psilocybin has been known to psychiatrists and neuroscientists for a very long time for this link to mental health.”
Despite the ray of hope presented by psilocybin, Katya and George found the situation frustrating and complicated. No pathway existed to do further testing on the drug and get it to patients. Therefore, she merged her medical expertise with her husband’s entrepreneurial skills to form COMPASS along with Lars Christian Wilde. “We got to the point when the signals were too strong to ignore. The need was too great. So we decided to put our skills together to accelerate patient access to psilocybin.”