Opioids help people find relief from pain, whether caused by surgery or from a chronic condition, but they have the potential to be abused or lead to dangerous illicit drugs. This has created a crisis that has a significant impact on our global society. A 2015 report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimated that the opioid crisis cost the U.S. economy over US$500 billion. The crisis has gotten worse. A recent 500-page congressional report estimated that opioid-related deaths now cost US$1 trillion annually, roughly 4.3 percent of the country’s GDP. A complementary report from the U.S. Center for Disease Prevention (CDC) includes nonfatal injuries and estimates the cost to be US$4.2 trillion. Looking beyond the US, the World Health Organization estimates that 500,000 people die per year due to drug overdose, and 70 percent of those deaths are caused by opioids.
What can be done to combat the opioid crisis? It’s a complex problem, with governments, researchers, and doctors all trying to find the answer. Treatment is one answer to combatting this crisis, ideally helping opioid addicts return to a life that’s free from drug abuse. Yet treatment for opioid addiction typically consists of detoxification, psychotherapy and replacing the problem opioid with a weaker opioid, such as methadone or buprenorphine. While this regimen may help some users recover, one study found that 91 percent of addicts will relapse after treatment. We need more effective treatment to truly combat the crisis.
Psychedelics have emerged as a promising treatment for opioid addiction, along with showing potential for treating alcohol use disorder and even depression. Ketamine, known for its role in anesthesia, may be an effective treatment for alcohol use disorder. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, shows promise for treating depression. Ibogaine, which is found primarily in the roots of the Iboga plant, may help opioid addicts recover from their addiction and provide a non-opioid replacement for pain relief. However, each psychedelic needs further research and development to become a truly therapeutic medication that can be legally used in treatment.
Nirvana Life Sciences (CSE:NIRV) was founded to develop novel therapeutic products derived from psychedelics. The company believes that naturally sourced psychedelics used in unique formulations can deliver non-addictive solutions that aid in opioid addiction treatment and ongoing pain management. Nirvana Life Sciences is focused strictly on developing effective products, rather than offering wellness retreats or clinics like some of their competitors.
The company has targeted two products for its first development phase. One product will focus on transitioning from opioids to non-addictive pain relief therapies and ideally prevents relapse. The second product will provide non-addictive pain relief. Nirvana Life Sciences began by acquiring the intellectual property (IP) behind these formulations and has since conducted its own research to advance them.
How is the company doing this legally? The use of psychedelics in standard medicinal therapies is a new frontier, and as such, Nirvana Life Sciences is taking every precaution against legal problems and even considering the interest criminals may have in its facilities. It has received a Section 56 Exemption from Health Canada, enabling them to legally conduct its research and development in Vancouver. Additionally, its new facility will be built to Level Nine Security Standards to safeguard its research. The company is also pursuing a Dealer’s License from Health Canada to allow for the movement of materials between licensees. The end goal is to introduce FDA-approved medications for widespread usage.
Pre-clinical research for its formulations have already begun. This research is being undertaken at the University of Camerino in Italy. This lab was granted special permission from the Italian government to work with psilocybin-based compounds. Reports from these trials are expected in Q3 2022.
Nirvana Life Sciences is led by visionaries and doctors working together to fully develop these potentially revolutionary medications. Bruce Clark, CEO, is motivated by finding new solutions to complex societal issues and has 30 years of experience managing innovative companies. Dr. Sazzad Hossain, CSO, has served on leading Canadian bio pharmaceutical companies and is considered a drug discovery leader. Robert August, head of innovation, is an academically trained chemist who is respected in the psychedelic community and is a strong advocate for ending prohibition.
Michael McCune, Vice President of Operations, has years of experience in the extraction space.. Connie Hang, CFO, has over 20 years of experience in accounting and management, including working with foreign and domestic companies. The company has attracted an impressive team of researchers including Dr. Massimo Nabissi and Dr. Naseem Gaur.
- Nirvana Life Sciences is an innovative research and development company focused on novel formulations for opioid addiction and pain management that use psychedelic compounds.
- The company is exclusively focused on products, rather than wellness retreats or psychotherapy programs like some of its competitors.
- Nirvana Life Sciences’ first phase of development is targeting two products, one to aid in opioid addiction recovery and the other is targeting non-addictive pain management.
- IP has been purchased from researchers who have extensively studied the effects of psychedelic compounds for medicinal purposes
- The company is taking every precaution to operate legally and protect against potential criminal elements that may target its facilities
- Pre-clinical research began in 2021 and the results are expected in Q3 2022 and will determine future developments
- A strong team of doctors and visionaries lead the company, each bringing their specialty to the company to fully develop its products
Medication for Opioid Addiction
The company has formulated a product that assists in the transition from opioids to non-addictive pain relief. Much of Nirvana Life Sciences’ focus is on developing and refining this product, as it paves the way for its second product which can serve as a standalone product for those addicted to opioids to return to an opioid-free life.
- Formulated to Prevent Abuse: The active ingredient can only be released when taken orally, making IV or insufflation ineffective as the active ingredient will not be released.
- Prioritizing Natural Materials Over Synthetic Replacements: Most competitors aim to develop synthetic psychedelics, whereas Nirvana Life Sciences is focused on perfecting a scalable process that extracts the desired compounds from natural sources, such as mushrooms. The company may still use synthetic alternatives if required.
- Exclusive License to Proprietary Extraction Technology: The company has secured a license that gives it exclusive access to extraction technology that will help scale the production of its medications, known as PureAI Distillation.
Medication for Non-Addictive Pain Management
Many people who develop opioid addiction still need pain management therapies. The company’s second product aims to provide pain relief without creating a new addiction. Psychedelic compounds have inherent pain relief properties that have been isolated for use as the active ingredient in this product.
- Only Effective Orally: Just like the addiction treatment product, the company’s pain management medication will only be effective when taken orally.
- Synthetic Extraction May Prove Viable: The contracted research facility in New Delhi has undertaken a novel process for producing synthetic psilocybin materials at scale.
- Currently Undergoing Preclinical Research: The company’s formulations are undergoing pre-clinical research with results expected in Q3 2022.
Bruce Clark – Chief Executive Officer
Bruce Clark leads the Nirvana team, seeking new solutions to one of our society’s most confounding issues. He sees great potential in the opportunities for the development of new approaches to a complex problem that is both a public health and economic issue for our communities. Clark is a proven innovator who brings 30 years of management experience across a variety of industries, including energy, food and beverage manufacturing and life science. He possesses broad experience in product development, manufacturing and product distribution and a clear understanding of the regulatory process. He has a deep understanding of the public policy issues at play and the importance of collaboration with all levels of government and health professionals through the development process.
Connie Hang – Chief Financial Officer
Connie Hang has over 20 years of finance, accounting, and management experience in a variety of industries, including energy, mining, and health science. In the past 12 years, Hang has acted as an advisor, officer and director for various public and private companies, which include Canadian-based companies to foreign-controlled entities. From 1999 to 2009, Hang worked in professional accounting firms and held senior positions in tax and audit practices. Having served over 40 public- and private-companies, she has gained in-depth knowledge of financial and regulatory affairs. Hang’s experience in dealing with people from different cultures and disciplines has solidified her ability to understand the needs of stakeholders and communicate complex ideas. Hang is a Member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and British Columbia and holds a bachelor of accounting science from the University of Calgary.
Dr. Sazzad Hossain – Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Sazzad Hossain is the former chief scientific officer of InMed Pharmaceuticals, a leading public Canadian biopharmaceutical company. Previously he worked as a senior scientist at the Biotechnology Research Institute of National Research Council Canada. Dr. Hossain is a drug discovery leader with over 15 years of biotech and pharmaceutical experience with small molecules and biologics in multiple disease indications. He has experience in accelerated drug discovery and commercialization processes with combined experience in preclinical in vivo pharmacology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK), safety and toxicology. He has led teams in the strategic design of new natural health products and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue by leading the development of multiple successful compounds. Dr. Hossain holds a PhD in biology and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Molecular Medicines and Therapeutics at the University of BC.
Robert August – Head of Innovation
Robert August holds a master’s of science degree and is an academically trained medicinal chemist with a focus on ergolines, phenethylamines and tryptamines. August began his academic career at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. During his undergraduate years, he worked as an analytical chemist for Martel Laboratories where he received his state analytical certifications for increased intracranial pressure (ICP), gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GCMS) and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LCMS) operations.
While pursuing a postgraduate degree in medicinal chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, he turned his focus toward the synthesis of psychoactive and psychedelic compounds, namely ergolines such as LSD and phenethylamines like MDMA and 2CB. Around this time, August began to work as a research chemist; and, eventually, began to actively pursue working partnerships with other chemists who were researching psychedelic compounds like Dr. David E. Nichols and Nick Sand, with whom August worked briefly in Vancouver, BC. After earning a reputation as a skilled chemist, he was invited to work alongside Ben Alkire at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, where he went on to cofound Berkeley-Clearlight Research (BCRG). While forming BCRG, August received unlimited access to the D.E. Nichols Archive at Purdue University and the vast array of synthesis notes created by Dr. Oberlender during his time as a chemist for the Nichols’ team. In the years that followed, August synthesized numerous novel compounds and research chemicals, becoming the first person to synthesize 3,4-MDMA Monohydrate HCl as a crystalline solid and as a beta ketone. August is a highly respected member of the psychedelic community and an advocate for ending prohibition.
Michael McCune – Vice President Operations
Michael McCune is a seasoned entrepreneur and innovator in the extraction space. Since 2013, he has applied his passion for science to developing novel processes for producing active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for the cannabis industry. He has built a specialty for at-scale extraction of a wide variety of materials. McCune led the development of a leading-edge distillation system that offers significant operational advantages and automation. He has overseen the development, trials and contract manufacture of this system. McCune is recognized as a leader in these technologies and has co-authored several patents. He maintains a global network and has presented at numerous conferences on the topics of extraction and cannabis technologies.