MDMA gets a boost in Australia

2 min readAug 25, 2022

By next year, MAPS is expected to get FDA approval for MDMA-assisted therapy.

But MAPS isn’t the only one developing MDMA or similar (analogue) molecules. Today, the Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, through Tenmile investments, announced investing $250 million in health tech companies.

One company receiving those funds is Emyria.

Making novel psychedelics down under

Emyria is an Australian biotech company that is developing treatments for unmet medical needs. One of their development programs has made over 125 MDMA analogues. The work has been done in collaboration with Matt Piggott at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

So, where is Emyria and where are they going?

The drugs are currently in the discovery (first) phase. This means that they have been identified but still need to be tested (pre-clinical) and later given to patients (clinical trials). The FDA has given approval to start the pre-clinical phase for 5 of the 125 analogues.

Not PTSD (initially), but fibromyalgia

Though Emyria plans to explore MDMA analogues for PTSD, their initial target will be fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. The hypothesis is that an analogue of MDMA could help relieve this pain.

This isn’t the first time psychedelics are hypothesised to help relieve chronic pain. Psilocybin is currently in Phase II of trials to treat fibromyalgia. And survey data from patients shows promising signs of relieving pain in the majority who take them (outside the lab).

Implementing psychedelics in the real world

One thing that stands out for Emyria is the company’s focus on real-world data.

Their cannabis drug development is happening by leveraging data from 6000 patients. But could the same be done for psychedelics? Maybe not. A petition to move psychedelics to a less restrictive category in Australia has previously failed.

And it might be years before an MDMA analogue gets through the clinical pipeline. But that weakness could be a strength, as by that time there should be a lot more data on how MDMA is being used as a medicine in the real world.

If you’re looking for answers to questions about psychedelic implementation, then be sure to join us for ICPR 2022 Psychedelic Science, Ethics & Business, taking place this September in The Netherlands.

Get your in-person or streaming tickets here

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