Biography/Memoir

A millionaire couple is threatening to create a magic mushroom monopoly

Many of those psilocybin experts now regret having helped the couple [behind Compass Pathways] … Quartz spoke with 9 psilocybin experts who advised Goldsmith and Malievskaia, but today express concerns about the company’s motives and aims … a company that both gains regulatory approval in North America and Europe for medical use of lab-synthesized version of psilocybin and controls the necessary intellectual property could have the power to determine both the costs of and treatment methods for medical-grade synthetic magic mushrooms … if the company does put shareholder interests above patient well-being, the drug could end up more expensive for patients than it needs to be.

…Neither Peter Thiel nor Mike Novogratz (major funders) responded to requests for comment. (Goldsmith and Malievskaia received tens of millions in dollars from investors including Silicon Valley libertarian Peter Thiel and former Wall Street-executive-turned-cryptocurrency-investor Mike Novogratz, along with the expertise and guidance of many long-standing psilocybin researchers. )

…A Compass company spokesperson says both Malievskaia and Goldsmith were unavailable to talk concerning the allegations in this article. (Having first registered as a charity, Goldsmith and Malievskaia set up a for-profit corporation working towards the same ends just one year later, and closed their non-profit less than two years after that.)

…Compass did not respond to a request for comment about the nature of this intellectual property. (The charity owned intellectual property during this time, which Goldsmith and Malievskaia later transferred to personal ownership.)

…Compass, Goldsmith, and Malievskaia did not respond to requests for comment about these trips [to the Isle of Man.] (The trips to the Isle of Man were pitched to these experts as a chance to visit the hospice where [the original non-profit] C.O.M.P.A.S.S. planned to set up trials of a psilocybin-treatment program for end-of-life anxiety.)

…Compass did not respond to specific questions about their spending. (The 990 tax forms are not detailed enough to conclusively show any abuse occurred, but both law professors say the tax documents certainly show signs of behavior that is questionable for a nonprofit, and warrant… investigation from the California attorney general. These experts say it is especially concerning that C.O.M.P.A.S.S. continued to spend the charity’s money after Malievskaia and Goldsmith had established their for-profit venture, raising doubts about whether the costs were truly in the interests of the charity, rather than the for-profit business.)

…Compass did not address multiple requests for comment about specific allegations in this article, including questions about their charity’s intangible assets and spending. (The 990s also suggest that C.O.M.P.A.S.S. used its nonprofit status to obtain intellectual property that would later become Goldsmith and Malievskaia’s. In 2015, C.O.M.P.A.S.S. claimed $217,671 worth of “intangible assets” on its tax forms.)

…Compass did not respond to questions about its therapist training. (Several of these experts told Quartz that they were concerned that Compass’s trial was designed to be fast, large, and inexpensive, and that it could create risky situations for patients. Several psilocybin experts Quartz spoke with say two days is not enough in-person training time. According to Compass’s website, participants must be referred by their doctor or psychiatrist.)

…Compass has not signed.​ (Concerns within the psychedelic community are strong enough that Bob Jesse, founder of the Council on Spiritual Practices and a Usona board member, created a “Statement on Open Science and Open Praxis with Psilocybin, MDMA, and Similar Substances,” in December 2017. “From generations of practitioners and researchers before us, we have received knowledge about these substances, their risks, and ways to use them constructively,” reads the statement. “In turn, we accept the call to use that knowledge for the common good and to share freely whatever related knowledge we may discover or develop.” It has been signed by 104 individual scientists, scholars, and practitioners, 21 research and service organizations, including MAPS, Heffter, Usona, [Edelic (ECfES.org)], and 12 psychedelic societies and integration circles.)

Original Article (Quartz):
A millionaire couple is threatening to create a magic mushroom monopoly
Artwork Fair Use: Public Domain & Arman Militosyan

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