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MAPS Raises $30 Million to Complete MDMA Study for FDA Approval

Sep 28, 2020
Clinical Trials
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The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the nation's leading psychedelics research organization, recently announced it raised $30 million to complete its study using MDMA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The MAPS Capstone Campaign was launched earlier in the year to provide funds for the final Phase 3 clinical trials needed to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Initially, the organization raised $10 million via internal members of the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative (PSFC). In May, the campaign ramped up efforts with the announcement of the Capstone Challenge. 

The "all or nothing" challenge, spearheaded by influential tech investor and podcaster Tim Ferriss and PSFC co-founder Joe Green, offered a $10 million grant from philanthropic donors—it would only be unlocked if the Capstone team raised $10 million in 90 days. MAPS was able to successfully meet its goal, securing the funds needed from 2,500 individual contributions.

Making MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD a Reality

Roughly 8 million Americans, and millions more worldwide, suffer from PTSD every year. Around 20 percent of people who experience a traumatic event during their lives go on to develop PTSD.

Existing forms of treatment like talk therapy or prescribed medications are often ineffective as patients are unresponsive or relapse after discontinuing treatment. 

MDMA, also commonly known as ecstasy, has emerged in recent years as a candidate that offers incredible promise for patients living with PTSD. In fact, the substance received a Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the FDA based on results during earlier MAPS clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treating PTSD.

During the organization's Phase 2 trials with 103 patients, 56 percent no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis two months after MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Even more promising, at the 12-month mark, 67 percent of participants no longer met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis.

"Winning FDA approval of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD could ultimately help millions of people, and that alone is a world-changing impact," said Joe Green in a press release

"We also believe this could be a tipping point for psychedelic medicine overall, leading to a mainstream understanding that psychedelic therapy has the potential to help treat many of the defining mental health crises of our time," Green said. 

If the treatment is approved, it would be the first time a psychedelic-assisted therapy to be approved by the FDA. This would set a new precedent that would have future implications for dozens of other psychoactive compounds whose therapeutic benefits are being explored by researchers worldwide. 

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