Ian McDonald


Ian McDonald is CEO of Bright Minds Biosciences, a Canadian biotechnology company working on “highly targeted serotonergic drugs” to treat patients with severe neurological and neuropsychiatric illnesses. 

An investment banker with former merchant banking experience, McDonald has helped to facilitate several multi-million deals throughout his work in corporate strategy and private equity. Additionally, his Bright Minds Biosciences profile states that he “has served as a member of the Board of Directors of several TSX Venture Exchange, Canadian Securities Exchange-listed and private companies.”

McDonald has appeared in numerous interviews discussing Bright Minds Biosciences’ work, including with Proactive, The Psychedelic Investor, and Microdose. In an extensive April 2021 conversation on The Deep Dive podcast, McDonald shared that his interest in psychedelics started in 2015. Through intensive research, he developed a thesis that psychedelics can be “tweaked” from “drugs that are impactful to drugs that are closer to perfect” in their efficacy: “So, what we’re doing is making a safer second class of drugs we’re addressing the liabilities in that first generation.”

McDonald stated, “I am an investment banker. I’ve run companies before, but not in this arena. I’m clearly not a scientist. What I did was identify the weak spots that I have and bring in the best people –globally– on that side.” …”we have an entire team of the best and brightest scientists which we cherry-picked from all these labs…the benefit of us really being the first to identify this thesis of creating next-generation drugs is that we kinda had the NBA draft of scientists.”

To build the Bright Minds team, McDonald said that he asked the top scientists in the psychedelic field who they felt was best equipped to improve psychedelics as drug candidates. He was repeatedly recommended to consult David Nichols, Alan Kozikowski, Gideon Shapiro, Bryan Roth, John McCorvy; the latter four now actively work with Bright Minds.