Psychedelic Patents

Silo Wellness Announces Patent Pending Psilocybin Formulation

Silo Wellness just announced the world’s first metered-dose magic mushroom nasal spray. The nasal spray formulation was designed to provide users with rapidly absorbed and predictable doses of “full spectrum” magic mushroom compositions.  According to Silo Wellness founder, Mike Arnold, the new formulations were made to address an unmet need for precision dosing: “This is a business problem in need of a solution.  I reached out to my long-time colleague from the marijuana space, brilliant inventor Michael Hartman, and we agreed that we need to be able to give patients predictable dosing so they can self-titrate into the desired levels of sub-psychedelic or psychedelic treatment.”  

The inherent chemical variability of naturally occurring magic mushrooms has been a longstanding unmet need for people wishing to consume precise and reliable amounts of full spectrum psilocybin composition.  See State of the Art for Microdosing Psychedelics. To date, the existing options have been either (a) consume mushroom fruiting bodies or (b) consume a single purified chemical. The former fails to provide precise or reliable doses of known ingredients; the latter fails to provide the synergistic benefits of full spectrum mushroom compositions.  See Entourage Effect.  We have previously pointed out that the future of the magic mushroom industry will be formulated tryptamines.  Paul Stamets recently expressed a similar view regarding the benefits of “standardized” doses on the Joe Rogan Podcast #1385.

Silo Wellness’s Patent Strategy

Silo Wellness is also clear about its aggressive intellectual property strategy, which has become in important consideration for investors in the psychedelic space.  Silo Wellness’s webpage emphasizes its “Provisional Application for a Patent for metered dosing formulations” and directs readers to an entire page dedicated to Intellectual Property.  On its intellectual property page, Silo Wellness explains: “We have filed [in July 2019] a provisional application for a patent to cover metered dosing formulations of plant and fungal compounds for oral, nasal, sublingual, and topical use. We are developing solutions for metered dosing for mushrooms, Ayahuasca/DMT, and peyote/mescaline.”  The intellectual property was apparently developed by Michael Hartman, who has developed extensive metered-dose inhaler IP for other pharmaceutical companies. Examples of Mr. Hartman’s metered dose technology can be found here and here.

Silo Wellness further highlights it’s IP-guided strategy by describing its dual focus on technology and IP:  “The problems we are attempting to address through protectible IP (patent and trade secrets) are as follows: 1. How to deliver a predictable and safe experience; and 2. How to make them palatable.

Foreshadowing a Patent Licensing Strategy?

According to their webpage, Silo Wellness “intend[s] to be directly involved through ownership interests, product licensing agreements, and management contracts in the cultivation, manufacturing, and therapy dosing in this emerging space.”  Silo Wellness’s description of their Nasal Spray formulation also includes a section about “Licensing the Technology for Manufacturing,” where the company invites discussions about licensing their IP.

“If you have a lab in Jamaica or are otherwise interested in licensing our technology in advance of legalization in your home jurisdiction, please contact our team for available territories.”

Although Silo Wellness frequently mentions its intellectual property and licensing strategy, there is no information about the scope or contents of its patent portfolio.  The webpage states that their provisional patent application was filed in July of 2019, suggesting that the content of that patent disclosure will not publish until about January of 2021 (18 months from the earliest priority). Presumably, the IP is centered around “metered dosing formulations,” leveraging Mr. Hartman’s expertise with metered dose inhalers.  However, it is not clear what chemical compositions will be used in the metered dose inhalers or whether those compositions are subject to patent protection by Silo Wellness or another entity, like Paul Stamets who holds multiple earlier-filed patent applications on magic mushroom compositions.

Conclusions – The Patent Race has Begun

On August 28, 2018, the Waking Times published an article explaining that “The Race to Patent Magic Mushrooms Heats Up.”  Since that time, there have been murmurings about different entities filing patent applications on magic mushroom formulations or related technology.  But, with their heavy emphasis on patent strategy, Silo Wellness has confirmed earlier suspicions that the patent race has begun in the psychedelics industry.  Here, Mike Arnold refers to the “Shroom Boom” as the “New Cannabis Green Rush,” adding that the peer-reviewed studies are even stronger.  However, Mr. Arnold further notes: “When everyone is running in one direction, that’s the last place an entrepreneur or investor wants to be. If you were on time for cannabis, you were already too late.”  Given that patents are awarded to the first inventor to file, do these signs of the psychedelic patent race indicate that it’s already too late to make a meaningful IP play in the space?

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10 months ago

As with cannabis, generic psilocybin routes of administration I don’t believe will yield useful patents. The patent pendings might be valuable especially in a bubble environment (see Canopy’s outrageously expensive purchase of Ebbu), but I don’t think the patent office will see these generic route-of-administration oriented patents as novel and non-obvious.