A psychedelic drug development company designing altered states of consciousness
for mental health therapeutics
The acute subjective experience of an altered conscious state is central to treatment outcomes.
Solving the central problem in psychedelic drug development
There is no translational model to distinguish among different altered states of consciousness.
Designing states of consciousness
We’re mapping the biological basis of the varieties of psychedelic experience to enable precision design of modified conscious states.
Osmanthus is a target discovery and phenotypic screening platform for altered conscious states.
We’ve combined natural history, natural language processing, and biochemical data to build a predictive model for the precision design of modified conscious states.
Primers & Probes
Our pipeline is based on a combination approach that uses psychedelic “primer” compounds together with non-psychedelic “probe” compounds that modulate the altered state of consciousness produced by the primer.
Osmanthus in Action
With the Osmanthus screening platform, we’ve identified six probe candidates to date; each with potentially unique therapeutic utility when combined with the lead primer. Future programs in development include a variety of additional primers and probes.
Dillan DiNardo is a biotechnology investor and operator with a background in venture capital. Prior to Mindstate Design Labs, he worked in a $1 billion venture fund, executing and managing more than fifty biopharma, medical device, and health tech investments ranging from pre-seed to publicly traded companies. In addition to his investing capacity, he took an operating role in over a dozen early-stage spinout companies. His experience spans a variety of disease indications and modalities, with a focus on deep-tech applications such as cell and gene therapies. Prior to his venture roles, he worked in finance for large international accounting and consulting firms as a transaction-focused consultant, covering the full investment life cycle from seed-stage startup funding to Fortune 500 mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Dillan holds an MBA and a Bachelor's in Finance from Robert Morris University.
Thomas Ray, PhD
Dr. Ray is an evolutionary biologist, iconoclast, and polymath who has made seminal contributions to multiple fields of science. His paradigm-shifting work has been featured in dozens of media outlets including Time Magazine, The New York Times, and Wired. Enrolling in university at the age of 16, as an undergraduate he was already publishing in the journal Science about new phenomena of nature he discovered with the natural history method. He brought the same natural history approach to the field of artificial life; with no training in computer science, he designed a new CPU architecture, a new operating system, and a new machine language. He created the first known instance of evolution by natural selection apart from life on earth - the first true artificial life program. For the past two decades he has devoted his research to the natural history study of psychedelic experience, synthesizing human experience data and biochemical data to develop hypotheses concerning the biological basis of the diverse varieties of psychedelic experience. Dr. Ray holds a PhD in Biology from Harvard University.
Paul Wren, PhD
Dr. Wren is a translational pharmacologist with three decades of global neuroscience R&D experience and senior leadership roles within large pharma at Pfizer and GSK, including global disease area strategy leader for depression and anxiety. Dr. Wren has initiated and led multiple multidisciplinary drug discovery and development efforts from target identification and validation to screening to optimization through to Phase 3. His experience has spanned leading multiple discovery, translational, and clinical pharmacology units, psychiatry and neurology disease area strategies, and early development project teams. Most recently Dr. Wren was the CSO of ESCAPE Bio, a clinical stage precision neurology biotech company. Previously Dr. Wren was a Senior Director at GSK where he headed multiple global neuroscience related activities, and he has held additional roles at Pfizer, Organon, and Novartis.
David Hough, MD
Dr. Hough is a psychiatrist and senior neuroscience clinical development executive, having led the development of the first and only FDA-approved therapeutic in the hallucinogen classes. He was previously a Vice President at Janssen (a Johnson & Johnson company) where he served for 17 years in several leadership roles. His latest position was the SPRAVATO (esketamine) compound development team leader overseeing the development program through two severe mood disorders indications. He was responsible for all medical, scientific, manufacturing, quality, preclinical, and commercial aspects of the program. Previously he was the schizophrenia disease area leader and the development team leader for paliperidone. He played a pivotal role in the development programs for oral INVEGA (paliperidone) and INVEGA SUSTENNA/XEPLION (paliperidone palmitate) 1-month and 3-month formulations.
Tilmann Brotz, PhD
Dr. Brotz is a neuroscientist and and drug development expert with over 20 years of experience leading toxicology, DMPK, in-vivo pharmacology, clinical pharmacology and diagnostic groups. Most recently Dr. Brotz was Sr. Director, Development Sciences at Achaogen where he contributed to multiple programs from lead optimization through Phase 3. Prior to Achaogen, Dr. Brotz worked as head of preclinical development and as a consultant for a number of emerging companies. He is an advisor for the CLSI FAST Program and a member of the Scientific Review Board of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. Dr. Brotz holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Tübingen.
Jessica Smith Beaver, PhD, MLS
Dr. Beaver is a seasoned regulatory leader with a strong track record in regulatory affairs, healthcare compliance, quality assurance, and risk management. Her experience includes small molecule and biologics development for drug candidates across discovery, early and late-stage development, and marketed products. Beginning her career at Johnson & Johnson as a Clinical Pharmacokinetics Leader, Dr. Beaver subsequently held senior regulatory roles at Targacept, Kowa Pharmaceuticals, and Verinetics. She holds a PhD in Pharmacokinetics & Drug Metabolism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Legal Studies in Business & Compliance Law from Washington University in St. Louis.
Jianhong Wang, PhD
Dr. Wang has over 20 years of experience contributing to the discovery of multiple clinical candidates, leading cross-functional discovery teams, and serving as a clinical pharmacology subject matter expert. Previously Dr. Wang was Executive Director of Clinical Pharmacology and DMPK at Cortexyme. Earlier in her career as a DMPK Research Scientist at Gilead Sciences, she led the nonclinical team in completing the nonclinical IND and NDA package for Biktarvy®, which is the best-selling medicine to treat HIV. Dr. Wang holds a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Iowa State University.
Tom Richardson, PhD
Dr. Richardson has over 20 years of medicinal chemistry experience in integrated drug discovery, developing and implementing research strategies from lead generation to pre-IND candidate selection. He previously served as Discovery Program Leader at Cavion, Inc. (acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals), developing novel T-Type calcium channel inhibitors for neurological and oncology indications. He is the co-inventor of 15 patents and co-author of several publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has a broad knowledge base and experience in crafting new intellectual property to secure patent space. Dr. Richardson holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from The Ohio State University.
Bruce Rehlaendar, PhD
Dr. Rehlaender is a veteran drug product development expert with over 30 years of experience in formulation development, dosage form design, predictive pharmacokinetic modeling, drug delivery technologies, and GMP manufacturing. He designs and oversees development of novel drug products, specializing in controlled release technologies and solubilization of poorly soluble drugs. Dr. Rehlaender holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Tegan Johnson has built on her background as an engineering physicist designing particle acclerators to move into project and program management for complex medtech development. Most recently, she served as Director of Program Management at Openwater, a neurodiagnostic medical imaging company where she led the inaugaural regulatory program and drove the development program from early hardware proof-of-concept to its first human studies. Prior to her role at Openwater, she served as Project Manager at Varian Medical Systems where she led product design development, risk hazard analysis, verification & validation, and compliance testing to FDA standards for a number of projects each with teams numbering between 5-20 personnel. Tegan holds a Bachelor's in Psychology and Physics from Otterbein University and a Master's in Particle Beam Physics from Indiana University in conjunction with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.
Drew Thieme, PhD
Dr. Thieme is a cheminformatician with deep expertise in the areas of data science, biochemical and subjective experiential data curation, computational chemistry, medicinal chemistry, psychopharmacology, pathophysiology, and drug discovery and development. He employs machine learning techniques, quantitiative structure-activity relationship modeling, molecular modeling, and biomedical knowledge graph analysis to develop virtual screening platforms oriented toward the identification of novel candidate molecules for targeted applications.
Dr. Thieme's dissertation focused on harmonizing raw subjective scent data via natural language processing, predicting subjective scent perception profiles from chemical structure of odorants, and leveraging biomedical knowledge graphs to draw connections between perceptual processes and various disease states. Additionally, Dr. Thieme has worked to formally define the concept of Clinical Outcomes Pathways, a new paradigm for the classification, characterization, and comparision of drug action. Now, at Mindstate Design Labs, Dr. Thieme is adapting these methods to the domain of subjective psychedelic experience to drive discovery of novel psychedelic drugs and precision design of modified conscious states.
Dr. Thieme holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor's Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Purdue University.
Lex Levkovskyy has over seven years of experience in software development, system architecture, and machine learning engineering. He has worked with software engineering teams ranging from seed-stage to Fortune 500 companies in the fields of medical equipment and biometrics. As part of a $2 million contract with the Department of Defense, he co-developed a mobile-based alternative to Common Access Cards used by military personnel for authorized access. Lex is also the technical co-founder of Sojourns, a mobile application for personalized harm reduction in substance use.
Lex has published research on neural machine translation between natural and formal languages, and on semantic derivation from character-based neural network models. He is the co-inventor of multiple patents in the field of behavioral biometrics, which describe machine-learning-based systems that can identify authorized users based on their behavioral patterns.
Lex holds a Master's in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University with a focus on machine learning algorithms for natural language processing.
Bethany Leins, PMP
Bethany Leins has over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry with more than a decade in project management roles. Her technical background is in process development, cell culture, and aseptic processing of biologic drugs. She holds a bachelors in biology from Duquesne University and the PMP certification from the Project Management Institute.
Josie Kins is a pioneer and prominent leader in the online psychonautic community, having spent the last 12 years formalizing the documentation of subjective psychedelic effects. She spearheads the effort to develop a detailed index of the diverse varieties of the psychedelic experience, which will enable new psychometric scales and computational efforts to map the biological basis of subjective psychedelic experience.
Josie brings a deep familiarity with psychedelic phenomenology and a unique ability to precisely articulate the range of psychedelic experience. As the founder of PsychonautWiki.org, Josie grew the site into a leading source of information about the phenomenology of psychedelic drugs with over one million unique monthly visitors. She is also the founder of EffectIndex.com which features a granular taxonomy of the subjective psychedelic experience. Recognizing that verbal descriptions of psychedelic phenomenology would greatly benefit from complementary visual and auditory representations, she also founded the r/replications subreddit which has over 140,000 subscribers and has launched the careers of multiple visionary artists.
Frederick Barrett, PhD
Dr. Barrett is the Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, the first academic psychedelic research center in the U.S. and the largest in the world. Dr. Barrett was the PI for the first federally funded research since the 1970s administering a classic psychedelic to people with psychedelic effects as the primary focus. He is now leading a number of ongoing studies aimed at better understanding the psychological, biological, and neural mechanisms underlying therapeutic efficacy of psychedelic drugs.
Danilo Bzdok, MD, PhD
Dr. Bzdok is a medical doctor and computer scientist with a dual background in systems neuroscience and machine learning algorithms. He currently serves as Associate Professor at McGill's Faculty of Medicine and as Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Mila - Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, including cross-appointments at the McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, and the School of Computer Science at McGill University. Dr. Bzdok's interdisciplinary research activity centers on narrowing knowledge gaps in the brain basis of human-defining types of thinking, with a special focus on the higher association cortex in health and disease.
After completing his medical training at RWTH Aachen University, Université de Lausanne, and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Bzdok completed one PhD in cognitive neuroscience at Research Center Juelich and one PhD in computer science in machine learning statistics at INRIA Saclay and Neurospin.
Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD
Robin Carhart-Harris is the founder of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, the world's first formal academic center for psychedelic research. He is now the Director of the Neuroscape Psychedelics Division and the Ralph Metzner Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Carhart-Harris has been one of the foremost leaders of the psychedelic renaissance, having authored well over 100 psychedelic research publications with more than 15,000 collective citations. He has designed a number of functional brain imaging studies with psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and DMT, and has completed multiple clinical trials of psilocybin for depression.
David Erritzoe, MD, PhD
David Erritzoe is the Deputy Head and Clinical Director of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London and Director of the CNWL-Imperial Psychopharmacology & Psychedelic Research (CIPPRes) Clinic at St. Charles Hospital. With more than 70 research publications and deep expertise in psychopharmacological research using brain imaging techniques, he is currently heading investigations on several psychedelic compounds including investigations on the mechanisms of ketamine's therapeutic effects, the role of 5HT2A receptors and 5HT release capacity in depression, and Phase I & II clinical trials on DMT in major depression.
Rand Hindi, PhD
Dr. Hindi is an entrepreneur and deeptech investor. He is the CEO at Zama, an open source homomorphic encryption company, and an investor in more than 30 companies across privacy, AI, blockchain, medtech, and psychedelics. Dr. Hindi started coding at the age of 10, founding a social network at 14 and a web agency at 15 before getting into machine learning at 18 and starting a PhD at 21. He then created Snips, an AI startup that was acquired by Sonos and is now powering the voice assistant in over 20 million devices.
Dr. Hindi has been elected as a TR35 by the MIT Technology Review and as a "30 under 30" by Forbes, was a lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris, and is an advisor to multiple companies. He was previously a member of the French Digital Council where he focused on AI and Privacy issues. Dr. Hindi holds a PhD in Bioinformatics from University College London as well as two graduate degrees from Singularity University in Silicon Valley and THNK in Amsterdam.
Andrew Newberg, MD
Dr. Andrew Newberg is a neuroscientist who studies the relationship between brain function and various mental states with a focus on altered states of consciousness outside those produced by existing psychedelic compounds. He is a pioneer in the neuroimaging and neurological study of transpersonal experiences, which are highly correlated with positive enduring treatment outcomes in psychedelic therapy. Dr. Newberg is the author of The Varieties of Spiritual Experience and a number of other books largely focused on how brain function is associated with various mental states - in particular, religious and mystical experiences.
Peter Wipf, PhD
Dr. Wipf is a Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. His research centers on the discovery of new pharmaceuticals including the total synthesis of natural products, organometallic and heterocyclic chemistry, and medicinal chemistry. Dr. Wipf is the author of more than 500 academic publications with over 37,000 citations, and he serves on a number of advisory and editorial boards in the fields of chemistry and pharmaceuticals.