NEW YORK, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- With the market surging back to life, investors are poised to pounce on the next trend. And if you missed out on the biotech boom then you'll want to pay special attention to what's coming next. Mentioned in today's market commentary: Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (NYSE: TEVA), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Allergan plc (AGN), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK).
This completely new market opportunity may be about to become front page news. Because the FDA just "fast tracked" it. Why? It could help solve a serious problem. Big Pharma's pills for mood disorders just don't work for many people.
Currently, major anti-depressant medications only improve symptoms in 40 to 60 out of 100 people. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 16 million Americans suffered from depression in 2016, while 40 million suffer from anxiety, making it the single most common mental illness in the United States.
For certain groups, it's much worse. About 30% of active-duty and military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental illness, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Traditional treatments just aren't cutting it for some. But a new set of game-changing "special compounds" may shake things up.
And there's a little company called Champignon Brands (SHRM;SHRMF) developing a therapy that could be more effective than the traditional pharmaceutical approach to treating anxiety, depression and mental illness.
Instead of dulling the mind, the Champignon approach looks to heals it—a method that harnesses cutting-edge methods with a goal to deliver lasting results. It's no wonder that the company's stock has tripled in value since January, as the rest of the economy takes a beating.
##1 BREAKTHROUGH, NATURALLY PRODUCED "SPECIAL COMPOUNDS"
Traditional anti-depressants don't help everyone. And that's caused a lot of problems for patients struggling with the symptoms of chronic depression.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. They include the Zoloft brand from Pfizer (PFE). Zoloft is one of the world's most recognizable antidepressants. The drug works by preventing the movement of serotonin back into nerve endings, essentially making the chemical more available for the body to use. This is important because low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, anxiety, and even obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Pfizer's Zoloft set itself apart of the many other brands of SSRIs thanks to its tolerability. In many studies, Zoloft has proven itself a drug with minimal negative side-effects, making it one of the first medicines doctors try for many people suffering with depression.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) is another company that, thanks to its series of aggressive expansion and acquisitions has played a major role in helping patients get the treatment they need. In fact, its focus on generic, non-brand-name, medications has made treatment of depression more affordable than ever. Some of the medications it distributes include escitalopram, a generation version of the widely popular Lexapro, and venlafaxine, which some may recognize as Effexor.
But now, medical science is moving towards new, "special compounds," that may alleviate symptoms much more effectively than traditional medications.
Ketamine, a powerful anesthetic drug and tranquilizer, has in clinical trials shown immense benefits as a treatment for depression and anxiety in tiny micro-doses. And after years of resistance, the FDA is now approved on a limited basis the first ever legal Ketamine drug—a nasal spray called Spravato used in treatment-resistant depression.
Spravato, developed by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), has received widespread praise in the medical community. Not only is the medication the first of its kind, it has also had overwhelmingly positive benefits to the patients utilizing the drug. The drug showed improvement in depression symptoms for periods of time as long as four weeks.
Though patients are not able to use the medicine without direct supervision from a healthcare provider due to the side-effects, the procedure so much has proven to be safe and sustainable in the long run.
The success of Spravato has also piqued the interest of Big Pharma firms. Allergan (AGN), primarily known for its Botox branded injection, is working to create a ketamine-like injectable depression treatment called Rapastinel. The company acquired the brand when it bought out Naurex for $560 million. While the drug was undergoing testing, it has hit a few snags along the way. Namely, in its most recent round of testing, it failed to differentiate from a placebo on the primary and key secondary endpoints.
Though Rapastinel has since been discontinued, Allergan is already working on a new treatment for depression and bi-polar disorder in its drug, VRAYLAR, and it's already been approved by the FDA for testing.
While ketamine has currently captured the spotlight in the new wave of depression treatments, two other compounds, MDMA and Psilocybin, have similar effects.
MDMA, for its part, has a long and strange history dating back to 1912. It was created and patented by Merck & Co. (MRK). Rumor has it that the company was asked to create the medicine as an appetite suppressant for German soldiers before the first World War but was shelved later due to its bizarre side effects. The rumor has since been disproven by an investigation done by Merck which discovered that the drug was developed as a potentially lifesaving blood clot agent.
Since Merck's discovery of the chemical, however, it laid relatively dormant until the 1970s, eventually finding its way into the hands of Alexander Shulgin, a renowned chemist known for his experiments with psychedelic medication.
Finally, a newcomer on the scene, psilocybin is intended to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a condition most prevalent in military veterans. But according to the latest statistics, the spread of PTSD is far wider than is normally believed.
Right now, common treatments include counseling, therapy, and medications. But the treatments developed by Champignon Brands (SHRM;SHRMF) could find a major niche in the anxiety and PTSD market.
When repeatedly taken during the day in small quantities—a process known as "micro-dosing"—the compounds in ketamine, MDMA and psilocybin can alleviate depression symptoms. And Champignon has the inside track on Psilocybin.
##2 A MARKET SIZE OF 450 MILLION PEOPLE
Mental health is a worldwide problem. But it's also a big opportunity for companies with innovative solutions, and investors looking to score big by buying into small-cap firms.
According to the WHO, 25% of the world's population will be affected by mental health disorders at some point in their lives.
Right now, 450 million people live with such conditions, and seek a variety of treatments, many of them expensive or ineffective.
Champignon is working on a developing a branch of medicine that has the potential to take the world by storm. They've already got some numbers working in their favor.
The market for mushrooms, the kind which Champignon Brands (SHRM;SHRMF) uses to develop Psilocybin, has been growing steadily and should reach $34.3 billion by 2024, according to one forecast.
So that's a global market of 450 million, with 11 million users immediately in need inside the U.S. This number of people will likely push regulators to consider legalization of Psilocybin sooner rather than later.
##3 THE MOST EXCITING COMPANY IN A NEW, MULTI-BILLION MARKET
Champignon has built a diversified portfolio of properties and patents, which could form the basis for the company's break-out.
Their first acquisition was a mushroom cultivator in British Columbia, the site of the company's planned laboratory and initial infrastructure for developing new compounds.
Finally, Champignon acquired a firm with key Psilocybin patents for treating traumatic brain injuries.
After an IPO that raised $2.8 million and a string of acquisitions, Champignon is positioning itself to profit from several aspects of the drug industry.
Right now, the market is limited. A small handful of jurisdictions in the US allow for these drugs.
Research into these special compounds has picked up in recent years. Clinical trials are now in full swing in Johns Hopkins, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Kings College, and Oxford.
And legalization could be gaining momentum.
Ballot initiatives to decriminalize Psilocybin have been passed in Denver, CO and Oakland, CA. In Canada, where access to medical psychedelic medicine was legalized federally, activists are now preparing petitions for allowing access to psilocybin as a constitutional right.
All of that is good news for Champignon Brands (SHRM;SHRMF). The company has the infrastructure, the patents, the capital and the know-how to capitalize on the current trends in the healthcare space.
By. Ian Jenkins
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Statements in this communication which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include statements regarding beliefs, plans, intent, predictions or other statements of future tense. Forward looking statements in this article include: that governments will legalize and regulate psychedelic medicine; that the worldwide functional mushroom markets combined will be worth $34.3 billion in gross sales in 2024; that Champignon Brands Inc. ("Champignon") can build an on-site research laboratory within the next 12-24 months; and rollout five additional clinics in the US by the end of 2020; can access the expertise of Champignon's acquisition targets' management teams to create and market depression and anxiety treatments; and that Champignon's business will be profitable. Forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of Champignon at the date the information is made, and is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Psychedelic medicine may not be legalized on the timeline as expected or at all; psychedelic medicine may not turn out to have as large a market as thought or be as lucrative as thought as a result of competition or other factors; Champignon may not be able to close on its announced acquisitions because of regulatory approval requirements or other reasons; that the acquisitions do not provide the expected benefits, business or expertise expected; that Champignon may not be as able to diversify or scale up as thought because of potential lack of capital, lack of facilities, regulatory compliance requirements or lack of suitable employees, partners or suppliers; none of Champignon's treatments have passed clinical trials or received FDA or other health authorities' approval; Champignon may not be able to raise funds and develop better treatments than competitors in the psychedelic medicine industry; actual operating performance of the facilities Champignon do not meet expectations; that competition quickly develops; that Champignon may not be able to retain key employees, partners and suppliers; costs may be higher than expected and profits therefore lower; and other risks affecting the Company in particular and the psychedelic medicine industry generally, including without limitation risks related to most agricultural crops, including crop failure and medical developments, including without limitation failure of human trials or rejection by medical regulators. The forward-looking statements in this document are made as of the date hereof and the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update such forward-looking statements except as required by applicable securities laws.
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