Australia’s national science agency CSIRO is aiming to develop new psychedelics for a variety of mental health conditions including depression, addiction, end-of-life anxiety and PTSD. 

Under a new licence, it will work with local medtech companies to improve existing psychedelic products and develop new ones.

The agency said in a statement: “There are many psychedelics known, both natural and synthetic, and CSIRO can now work with local biomedical companies to extract, synthesise, improve and then develop manufacturing processes for up to 15 different psychedelic compounds.”

CSIRO scientist adjunct professor Peter Duggan added: “CSIRO is well-placed to contribute to this emerging area of research, which could lead to life-changing advancements in mental health. 

“Clinical trials both here and internationally have been using known psychedelics – usually MDMA or psilocybin – with impressive results, but there’s still much to be learnt about how these drugs work and how improvements to their chemical composition could enhance patient outcomes.

“By working with local industry to improve drug design and the patient experience, CSIRO can push Australia into a leadership position in the development of these potentially life-changing medications.”

One of the first companies to work with CSIRO in the psychedelics space is Melbourne-based Natural MedTech, who are looking to further explore the psychoactive properties of plants and fungi for medical use. 

CEO Mark Hestermann said: “Natural MedTech is working to develop psychedelic treatments for several unmet neurological disorders. 

“CSIRO’s scheduled poisons licence extension will mean that they can legally make the raw material we need to further our research and development of psychedelic molecules with a view to progress new drugs to clinical trials,” he added. 

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...