- NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage
NEW YORK, March 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Product offerings focused on enhancing mental health and wellness are broadening as companies that are committed to helping consumers are looking for a variety of ways — both natural and prescription-based — to offer support, support that includes an array of new functional foods and medicines.
Canadian company Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (Profile) is one of the first to provide such natural products as it sets out to expand its product line, including offering products containing mushrooms, which have been proven effective in the mental health and wellness space. Another company focused on natural health solutions is Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. (NYSE: HLF), a global nutrition company. Going with more traditional mental health options, Axsome Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AXSM) recently reported favorable results for its late-stage, experimental depression treatment, which showed significant improvements in patients with major depressive disorder. BioXcel Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BTAI) focuses on utilizing cutting-edge technology and innovative research to develop its high-value therapeutics aimed at transforming patients' lives. And with colleagues and commercial operations in an estimated 100 countries, Allergan (NYSE: AGN) is committed to working with physicians, healthcare providers and patients to deliver innovative treatments that help people around the world live longer, healthier lives.
- The widening legalization of psilocybin, an active ingredient in mushrooms, is allowing some companies to create new foods, drinks and medicines.
- Major research institutions and investors are throwing their weight behind the growing mushroom trend.
- Psilocybin offers potential as both a mental health medicine and an ingredient in wellness foods and drinks.
To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.
Make Room for Mushrooms
With the legalization of medical cannabis in many jurisdictions, regulators and businesses are looking at other natural drugs that might be legally available for consumers. Mushrooms, with their powerful ability to affect brain chemistry, looks set to become the next major legalization drive in America.
A wide range of companies and investors alike are moving to make the most of this space. Like the mushrooms themselves, new companies are springing up out of fertile ground. These companies aim to provide customers with the health benefits that mushrooms can bring, while providing investors with opportunities in this nascent market.
The 'Shroom Boom
Among these companies is Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM), one of the only public companies focused entirely on a mushroom-to-market strategy. Champignon currently offers consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in the form of teas that capitalize on the use of functional mushrooms and provide an opportunity for entry-level exposure to the burgeoning boom in mushroom products.
Champignon is committed to cultivating and distributing artisanal medical mushrooms and the CPGs derived from those mushrooms. As a legal market, this is new territory, and Champignon is a young company. The company recently successfully completed its initial public offering of more than 18 million common shares at a price of $0.15 per share for total gross proceeds of more than $2.8 million. The company's common shares were listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange beginning February 27, 2020. After a brief halt pending IPO completion, the common shares resumed trading under the symbol SHRM on March 2, 2020. In addition, Champignon working to secure listings in the United States and Germany as it seeks to create a strong presence in both North America and Europe.
This deliberate approach looks to be a smart strategy for this emerging presence in the functional mushroom sector. Laying the global groundwork now should position Champignon to make the most of the high-profile American market while also reaching other high-value, health-conscious consumers around the world.
Naturally Occuring New Medicine
Psilocybin is at the core of the work Champignon is doing. A naturally occurring chemical, psilocybin can be found in hundreds of types of mushrooms, providing the fungi with their psychedelic qualities. While the power of psilocybin has been recognized for decades, its medical potential is now being fully researched.
This mushroom momentum is driven by growing acceptance from medical professionals and institutions. Thomas Insel, former director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, and Paul Summergrad, former head of the American Psychiatric Association, are both on the board of advisers for Compass Pathways, a leading psilocybin company. Johns Hopkins, one of America's most prestigious research universities, has established a new psychedelic research center focused on examining the potential of such chemicals, largely funded through the efforts of angel investor Tim Ferriss.
Ferriss isn't the only high-profile investor to have taken an interest in the tasty fungi. Bruce Linton and Kevin O'Leary are seed investors in MindMed, while Peter Thiel has invested in Compass Pathways. Wild as it might seem to outsiders, Champignon is working in a field with growing scientific and financial credibility.
The market available to companies such as Champignon has long been limited by laws restricting the use and sale of psilocybin mushrooms and their derivatives. Now those laws are starting to change.
Denver, Oakland, and most recently Santa Cruz are among the places that have already decriminalized psilocybin. Some of the same people who championed those changes are now involved in wider efforts, with campaigns for decriminalization in areas such as Oregon and Iowa. In November 2019, Decriminalize California teamed up with the Beckley Foundation to replicate the success of decriminalization in Oakland throughout the state of California. Vermont, Michigan and Washington have also commenced movements toward legalization.
The case for legalizing shrooms isn't the same as for cannabis. While some of the same arguments about health benefits and personal choice are fielded, psilocybin legalization doesn't involve the huge potential tax benefits or the massive implications for the criminal justice system. Companies such as Champignon aren't looking to tap into the same huge painkilling market as THC and CBD products. Instead, these companies occupy a significant niche focusing on supporting mental health, where it is believed that psilocybin could create new treatments and potentially radically improve the lives of sufferers.
Support for legalization isn't clearly divided along party lines. Peter Thiel is a Trump ally while a recent attempt to make research easier was pushed by radical Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Like hemp farming, this is an industry with potential to reach across the political divide.
Building a Strategy Around Medicine
As psilocybin legalization grows, so has research research and development. Studies are looking at how to refine and synthesize the chemical as well as how to integrate it into product development. The R&D element is a essential part of Champignon's strategy.
Any company developing products within the health and wellness sector needs a medicinal IP strategy in order to provide the unique products and medical advances that make a medical company stand out — both to customers and investors. Champignon's plan is to use laboratory experiments to develop a way of biosynthesizing psilocybin, with the aim of reaching this milestone marker within the first three months of experiments. This would allow optimized and scaled production of pharmaceutical grade psilocybin.
With efficient, large-scale production, the company will be able to deploy its products in clinical settings, thus staking a serious claim in the medical market.
Psilocybin products have value not just in the clinical space but also in the retail one. Functional foods and beverages are growing in popularity thanks to cannabis and CBD, and psilocybin provides an opportunity to diversify this $200 billion sector with new and distinctive products.
Functional foods and drinks such as Champignon's Vitality Superteas and its upcoming mushroom-infused cold brew coffee are a natural entry point for psilocybin into this sector. Both of these one-of-a-kind product offerings will reach a broader market and raise awareness of mushrooms' emerging potential. Champignon plans to use a mix of national brick-and-mortar distribution, e-commerce and online influencer marketing to raise the profile of its products and build a strong, loyal customer base.
The Business of Health and Wellness
Mental health and wellness is a lucrative industry, with many companies committed to offer a range of products designed to help consumers live better lives.
Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) offers products that, when combined with a balanced diet and exercise, provide consumers with a comprehensive and personalized solution to their nutrition and wellness goals. Herbalife products include protein shakes and bars, teas, aloe, vitamins and sports hydration products, all backed by science and designed to meet customers' diverse needs.
Axsome Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSM) develops and commercializes differentiated medicines that expand the treatment options available to caregivers and improve the lives of patients living with CNS disorders. Most recently, the company reported favorable results for its late-stage, experimental depression treatment, which showed significant improvements in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) (http://nnw.fm/k1GuF).
BioXcel Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BTAI) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that utilizes novel artificial intelligence, or AI, to identify the next wave of medicines across neuroscience and immuno-oncology. BTAI employs a unique AI platform in an effort to reduce therapeutic development costs and potentially accelerate timelines, while aiming to increase the possibility of success.
Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN) is a global pharmaceutical leader focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing branded pharmaceutical, device, biologic, surgical and regenerative medicine products. The company is committed to a social contract that "begins where there is a patient with an unmet need. As we identify needs in our areas of expertise in the U.S. and around the world, we are committed to risking billions of dollars to develop life-enhancing innovations."
With legalization spreading and a wide range of companies dedicated to enhancing the mental health and well-being of those in need around the world, the use of mushrooms certainly seems to have a place in the space.
For more information about Champignon Brands Inc., please visit Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM).
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