Mental and Behavioral Health
Translating Trips to Trials: Current Challenges in Psychedelics' Clinical Development (p…
Major breakthroughs in the field of psychedelics have brought mental health to the brink of a revolution. But bringing these therapies to market is no small endeavor, says L.E.K.’s Adrienne Rivlin.
Even before the COVID pandemic, we knew that we had a burgeoning mental health crisis. The COVID pandemic has accelerated that and for many patients around the world, the current treatments and therapies that they have access to are simply suboptimal. They might not work or they might have side effects that are for those people intolerable. I'm really excited to see some of the major breakthroughs that have been coming in the field of psychedelics over the last 12 months. We've had some very significant readouts of big phase three trials that have really started to show us what the potential impact of these therapies could be, from psilocybin or magic mushrooms for the treatment of major depression through to the use of MDMA or ecstasy for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder. It really does look like we could have a mental health revolution in therapies on our hands.
We've been helping clients across the industry with a whole range of different issues, from areas in research and development, thinking through things like indication prioritization and indication sequencing right through to pre-commercialization planning, so thinking about all of the necessary requirements that need to be in place before these therapies come to market. For example, what kinds of protocols will need to be put in place to deal with these types of drugs right the way through to the infrastructure that will be required in the healthcare side, the types of delivery innovation that we might see, for example, virtual reality and other types of digital therapy, and indeed also issues in the supply chain. How do we think about scaling the production of these types of drugs so that they reach patients quickly, safely, and effectively?
Another area that we've been spending time helping our clients think through is in the area of infrastructure. So what infrastructure will be required for the safe and effective delivery of psychedelic therapies? In most cases, this is likely to be significantly different to how therapies have been traditionally used in psychiatry. And so, we need to think through very carefully how to deliver these types of drugs and indeed therapies in a safe and effective way for patients.