Lobe Sciences (LOBE.C) is working to develop effective psychedelic-based therapeutics for the treatment of mild traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder with a focus on contact sports, namely American football.
Lobe has distinguished itself from the pack by focusing on brain trauma in sports, a conversation that has really gained traction over the past 5-10 years. Lobe brought on the President of the NFL Alumni Association (the “NFLAA”) Bart Oates to the company’s board in March. Oates is also a three-time Superbowl champion.
A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) in July 2017 found that among 202 deceased former football players, 177 of them were diagnosed with Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). There were 111 former NFL players in the study, and 110 of them were diagnosed with CTE.
This type of brain injury is caused by repetitive trauma to the brain and leads to the destruction of brain cells. CTE sufferers often exhibit mood and behavior issues such as aggression, depression, paranoia, and impulse control problems.
One famous example of CTE is former NFL star Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez committed suicide in prison where he was serving time for murder. The autopsy results revealed that he had a severe case of CTE. Doctors categorize CTE in four stages, with stage 4 as the worst. Hernandez was diagnosed with stage 3 CTE, causing memory loss, fragmented thinking, as well as changes in behavior, and impaired judgment.
In 2012, San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide. Seau had suffered through years of erratic behavior and depression after enduring severe brain trauma while on the field. After his death, his brain was studied and was eventually diagnosed with CTE.
In 2017, the NFL made several changes to its concussion protocol. Prior to the change, if a player left the field with a possible concussion, he had to stay out of the game while he was being evaluated. The numbers have dropped since the new protocols have been enforced, but the numbers are still too high and more needs to be done.
These new rules also require having an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) for all games, evaluating any player who seems to lack motor stability or balance, and re-evaluating any player who had been evaluated for a concussion during a game within 24 hours of the initial evaluation.
Looks like a smart move by Lobe.
I’m also really curious to see how far they can stretch this thing within NFL circles. This is a great first step in getting more involved within the game’s culture. If Lobe could get one or two active players to hop on board, or even give an endorsement down the line it could be great for the company’s exposure. This is one of the many upsides of targetting high-net-worth athletes with massive audiences.
This is a much more serious issue than many people believe. Daniel Carcillo, a former NHL player has also joined a similar fight recently with his company Wesana Health.
2X Stanley Cup winner Daniel Carcillo recently announced his Chicago-based company Wesana Health is set to go public next month. The company completed a $4M CAD convertible note raise in January intended to fund research around psychedelic-assisted therapy to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Carcillo was a victim of TBI himself and retired from the NHL in 2015 due to post-concussion syndrome after playing only 429 games at the age of 30. Since leaving the ice he has been outspoken about several topics like sexual abuses in the Canadian Hockey League, concussions and player safety in the NHL, the toxicity of the sports world, and his own mental health.
Carcillo has also been focused on researching and developing natural-sourced neurological treatments based on psychedelics to help with TBI symptoms, claiming mushrooms saved his life by ending his suicidal thinking.
Lobe currently has $1.8 million CAD in cash with assets of $14 million CAD, including $1.9 million CAD in working capital. One product they want to one day scale to commercial production is their nasal spray.
In November the company launched preclinical research studies using psilocybin and N-Acetylcysteine (“NAC”) for the treatment of mild traumatic brain injury/concussion (“mTBI”) with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
The initial research focus is to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the combination of psilocybin and NAC using broadly accepted rodent models.
The device includes a nasal delivery system for the administration of pharmaceutical agents such as a psilocybin-derived agent and/or N-acetylcysteine (“NAC”) at preselected dosages and times.
The company holds several provisional patent applications including for a nasal mist device entitled “Device and Method for the Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”.
Lobe also recently acquired a mushroom CPG company called Vitamind, I couldn’t find a product listing or website, but this could also be a step in the right direction for targetting athletes. Functional mushrooms, namely cordyceps are popular among fitness freaks who are looking to get an edge without taking banned substances.
Lobe is in a position to build a really interesting brand centered around contact sports and head trauma. It’s still early days, but the company has made smart moves in getting the ball rolling. I like the idea that professional athletes are going to give them indirect, and potentially even direct exposure. More and more pro athletes are opening up about mental health, even in the hyper-macho NFL. Dallas Cowboys franchise QB Dak Prescott talked about how his brother’s suicide affected his mental health, and how he has been dealing with depression lately.
This is the way the culture is going, so Lobe has set itself to be in a good spot. Let’s see if they can really execute and get this thing some massive exposure in the sporting world.