Should the Psychedelics Industry Worry about the Compass Pathways Psilocybin Patent?

Psychedelics are becoming the new cannabis. University and private company interest has grown quickly over the last 5 years. Many companies like MindMed and NeonMind have announced their filings of provisional patent applications and are anticipating a prosperous future for this class of hallucinogenic drugs. In the last 5 years, just under 200 patent assets have been filed for classic psychedelics (LSD, DMT, Psilocybin, etc.), and since Compass Pathways was granted its first patent related to psilocybin in 2019, many industry professionals have raised their concerns regarding the broadness in which the claims are written. The claims of patent ‘175 are directed towards a method of treating drug-resistant depression through the administration of crystalline psilocybin in the form Polymorph A. The structural properties of the crystalline psilocybin Polymorph A is characterized by 5 specific peak occurrences in an X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD) diffractogram, which are mentioned in independent claim 1. Has Compass Pathways successfully stiff-armed the competition with this patent grant? Not necessarily. 

For starters, the claims are limited to treating drug-resistant depression and not depression in general or mental disorders in general. Secondly, the crystalline psilocybin used must be Polymorph A with the corresponding XRPD peaks mentioned in claim 1. Thirdly, the claims are further limited by dosage amounts, and lastly, the formulation additionally contains silicified microcrystalline cellulose. With the limitations at hand, designing around is still possible and other psilocybin patents can still be granted. 

Take, for instance, Procare Beheer’s patent granted on August 4, 2020, for a method for preventing or treating a psychological disorder by administering psilocybin and/or psilocin in combination with at least one cannabinoid and/or at least one terpene. Arguably, the claims are even broader than the ‘175 patent having no specified dosage amounts, the psilocybin and psilocin are said to be pure or synthetic form, and there is a long list of treatable psychological disorders that are mentioned. The same fear arose when Biotech Institute of the cannabis industry received its patent for cannabis plants, yet there are still cannabis plant and utility patents being granted. So the notion that the Compass Pathways patent would entirely block out the opportunity for more psilocybin inventions to be patented is just not true, as was also seen in the cannabis industry. 

Compass Pathways has filed 5 continuation patent applications of patent ‘175 and has already been granted two additional patents for psilocybin which add minor details to the patent claim coverage of patent ‘175. Coverage was added for treating major depressive disorder as well as the types of oral dosage forms the psilocybin composition can embody including capsules and tablets. In an effort to diminish the negativity surrounding the company, Compass Pathway released a couple articles explaining its patent pursuit and its open science practice

The ‘175 patent may have stirred the pot some but it hasn’t prevented the issuance of further psilocybin patents nor has it deterred others from seeking patents. Since the start of 2021, over 10 patent applications have been filed covering many classic psychedelics including DMT, psilocybin, and LSD. Only more will come as research is allowed and incentivized and legal reforms take place.  

The classic psychedelics patent space is still very much in its infancy. Follow along now to see how it evolves and develops into a multibillion dollar industry. Sign up for the Classic Psychedelics Patent Forecast® today!