Psychedelics: Why Now, and Finding the Best Approach, a Q&A with Yaron Eshel

Yaron has 15 years of experience in Life Sciences innovation. He has led efforts in development, regulatory compliance, and operations in the medical field. Yaron has worked within start-ups as well as consulted for them. He has navigated the U.S., European, Israeli and Australian regulatory agencies, including the registration of manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Central America, Israel and Australia to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) levels. Yaron has led clinical trials in the U.S., Europe, and Israel and worked with Clinical Research Organizations all over the world.  

What made Entheon stand out to you as a unique opportunity compared to other psychedelic and pharmaceutical start-ups? 

The people. Even some of the larger psychedelic pharmaceutical companies don’t have the calibre of team and advisors that we have working with us to develop our DMT addiction product. Robin Carhart-Harris and his team from Imperial College lead the way in DMT research, and Professor Matthew Johnson from Johns Hopkins has focused on addiction. More recently, he has shown the path for the therapeutic use of psychedelics in general and specifically in addiction treatment—what a powerful duo. We also have an experienced pharmaceutical development team, including Dr. Michael Walker and Dr. Andrew Hegle, both of whom have developed therapies through the FDA pathway from “bench to bedside,” and our ayahuasca roots are represented by ethnopharmacologist and researcher Dennis McKenna. We have an absolute all-star team.

What are your thoughts on the competitive landscape for Entheon? Do you feel that Entheon has competition with other start-ups to create a usable psychedelic drug? 

I don’t know if the competition is the right word, because ultimately, there is just a real, urgent need to get psychedelics to patients. I don’t care if it’s MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), Compass Pathways or our team at Entheon. Someone needs to get these treatments to patients. I hope that in 7 to 10 years, we see several companies with success in the industry. I don’t worry too much about the competition because we have a unique approach.

You’ve called Entheon “The FDA’s Dream,” what do you mean by that?

We are developing what we believe is the safest version of the powerful therapeutic products called “psychedelics.” Also, we aren’t generating a chronic model, meaning that instead of taking a tablet a day for the rest of your life, you only need three to five sessions. This reduces the chances of long term toxicity and drug on drug interactions and alike. “Cured” is a word that is rarely used when it comes to depression, anxiety and addiction. But with psychedelic therapy, how the patient sees the world becomes fundamentally changed, and recovery is indeed a possibility.

What makes DMT particularly useful in therapy?

Firstly, it is interesting because it exists endogenously. Our brains make DMT. This makes it different from MDMA, LSD and psilocybin. When DMT is taken, it is a much shorter experience than the other psychedelics, lasting minutes rather than hours. You can stop the psychedelic experience if the patient needs to or session time has run out. Compare this to LSD, which can last for the entire day – LSD isn’t a scalable situation. We will have a solution where the DMT experience lasts the length of time that a therapist determines appropriate- also, if the patient wants to stop, they can.

Do you think that the COVID-19 pandemic will influence the state of psychedelic medicine?

The need for these supportive treatments will increase. Mass unemployment and the psychological challenges of dealing with isolation will take its toll, and the world needs psychedelics to see things differently. The only things I have seen to help people to see the world differently are love and psychedelics.

See the entire Entheon team.