Women are making important contributions to the emerging psychedelics market. Olivia Mannix, founder and CEO of Felicity Pharma–a female-focused psychedelic medicine biotech company–points to the need for innovation as a driving force. “The women’s health sector has been really underrepresented, with little innovation in the past 30 years. There are a lot of issues when it comes to clinical trials with women because there are so many variables that go into women’s anatomy. It’s exciting to see how psychedelics will change the paradigm.”
Mannix, who has started several companies in the cannabis and psychedelics spaces, including the world’s first cannabis marketing agency, is part of that paradigm-shifting mentality. The Felicity Pharma team is focused on women’s needs specifically related to chronic pain and mood disorders. “Because of their hormonal changes, women have not typically been used in clinical trials,” she says. “Our company is taking a stance and working with women to figure out solutions for them.”
The Future Of Psychedelics For Women
Depression, especially among marginalized women, is the most common mental health issue. According to the American Psychiatric Association, every year, one in five women in the US has a mental health problem such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or an eating disorder (women account for 65% of those with binge eating disorders). “Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) affects 80% of women,” says Mannix. “That’s a massive number and something that should be a leading talking point.” Felicity Pharma is investigating how psychedelics can help with PMS, and its more severe form, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). “SSRIs are overly prescribed and they don’t work as well as they can for the intended indications, so we’re trying to disrupt that market.” Although much more research will be needed to determine whether psychedelics are an effective long-term treatment, a growing body of evidence continues to tilt the scale in a positive direction.
Investors Take Notice?
In 2020, Data Bridge Market Research projected that the psychedelic drugs market would reach $6.5 billion dollars by 2027. Although not currently publicly traded, Mannix says they’re ready “to go to the clinic,” and have just signed on two key investigators from large, academic institutions. Felicity Pharma is currently welcoming meetings with investors looking to get in early.