Mind Cure Health, a Canadian startup developing technology platforms to assist mental healthcare and psychedelic research, is releasing a minimum viable product (MVP) version of its flagship digital therapeutic, iSTRYM, in clinics across North America.
While the version of iSTRYM initially being released only includes basic features, the digital platform provides data-driven insights to support both patients and providers throughout psychedelic therapy.
The platform engages users throughout the care journey by helping onboard patients, providing real-time data and music therapy during sessions, and gathering biometric data to guide behavioral interventions.
”Mind Cure created iSTRYM with the goal of unlocking value for researchers, therapists and ultimately patients in need,” Dr. John Brownstein, a company advisor for Mind Cure and the chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, said in a statement.
“I believe there’s a real opportunity to improve mental health treatments through a better understanding of patient and research data, and that this platform can be a valuable resource for the entire psychedelics industry.”
At launch, Mind Cure is targeting psychedelic clinics but plans to eventually move into both hybrid and traditional mental health facilities. The company will begin full commercial deployment of iSTRYM in the first quarter of 2022 and hopes that by the end of that year it will be integrated into 150 clinics across the U.S., Canada and Europe.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Mental health in the U.S. is an ongoing problem that only got worse because of the pandemic. Even before the onset of COVID-19, 11% of adults experienced symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. As of January 2021, that population has grown to more than 40% of adults.
The growing burden of the country’s struggle with mental health has led some researchers to examine the effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, the professionally supervised use of drugs such as ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, LSD and ibogaine.
So far, research into the effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy shows it can help treat a number of psychiatric conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, according to a review from the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The review says that while there isn’t enough evidence yet to warrant FDA approval of psychedelics for routine clinical use, the existing data supports continued research.
“These new psychedelic medicines demand new models, and technology-enabled care that uses AI and scientific rigour have an important and valuable role to play,” Kelsey Ramsden, president and CEO of Mind Cure, said in a statement.
“Having methodically built a world-class team and built this platform from the ground up to serve psychedelics and scale beyond, I am excited to share the MVP version with our strategic partners within the psychedelics industry.”
THE LARGER TREND
Interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy especially gained speed after Oregon became the first state to legalize the use of psilocybin for mental health treatment and decriminalize the possession of all illegal drugs.
Mind Cure first announced iSTRYM this January, with hopes to identify, develop and commercialize products that enhance mental health and wellness, ease suffering and increase productivity.
But Mind Cure isn’t alone in this space. There’s also TRIPP, which combines virtual and alternate realities with psychedelic imagery to boost mental wellness. The company recently acquired PsyAssist to integrate the company’s psychedelic therapy protocols with its VR platform to support psychotherapists and patients through ketamine-assisted therapy, as well as in MDMA and psilocybin clinical trials.
MindMed is another player in psychedelics and earlier this year the company acquired research-focused digital health company HealthMode to integrate its clinical trial platform and help clients commercialize psychedelic therapies and medicines.