Introducing Compass Pathways: the company behind ‘Big Shroom’

Compass Pathways wants to bring magic mushrooms to mainstream medicine, but many experts feel they are wrongfully trying to monopolize the potential market.


November 9, 2018

Compass Pathways, a controversial British company, is looking to turn psychedelic mushrooms into a pharmaceutical powerhouse and become the first legal provider of psilocybin, AKA the ‘magic’ in magic mushrooms.

After launching a massive clinical study across Europe and North America to test the drug as a treatment for depression, Compass’ psilocybin research received “breakthrough therapy designation” from the FDA —  a notion both exciting and problematic for the psychedelic community.

The long, strange trip to mainstream magic

Psilocybin research has been on the precipice of serious medicine for decades, but recent studies have shown the “loss of ego” (breakdown of the sense of self) that occurs on mushrooms can also treat mental health conditions like addiction and PTSD.

In 2015, husband and wife George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaia set up C.O.M.P.A.S.S., a nonprofit charity organization focused on the effects of shrooms on end-of-life anxiety.

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Then the tweaking began

In 2016, Goldsmith and Malievskaia created a new for-profit business, Compass Pathways — without telling the 4 main experts collaborating with the original nonprofit.

By 2017, Peter Thiel became a majority backer, giving Compass tens of millions of dollars to help further research.

The fungus among us

Now, numerous past collaborators knock Compass for relying on conventional pharmaceutical-industry strategies that could help them dominate the industry — and the OG experts wonder if the couple simply used them to create a corporation in charity’s clothing.

The new Compass now requires highly restrictive contracts that give the company power over any research and block potential competitors’ purchasing abilities.

Literally the anti-spirit of psychedelics

According to Quartz, now that psilocybin is on the verge of legitimacy, Compass’ alleged maneuvering to monopolize the drug is causing a rift in the community.

104 individual experts and 12 psychedelic societies have signed an open statement urging the industry to share breakthroughs freely for the common good of humanity.

Guess who hasn’t signed?

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