Beginner's Mind

EP 120: Matias Serebrinsky: Shaping the Future of Mental Health: AI, Psychedelics, and Beyond

December 11, 2023 Christian Soschner, Matias Serebrinsky Season 4 Episode 52
Beginner's Mind
EP 120: Matias Serebrinsky: Shaping the Future of Mental Health: AI, Psychedelics, and Beyond
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Did you know that the intersection of mental health and cutting-edge technology is paving the way for revolutionary therapies that could redefine our approach to mental health and wellness?

Imagine a future where AI and novel therapies like psychedelics work together to unlock new realms of mental health treatment. Matias Serebrinsky and Psymed Ventures are at the forefront of this innovation, not just envisioning it—they're actively shaping it.

Tune in to explore the new horizons of mental health!

🎙️ What's in the Episode:
1️⃣ Mental Health Reimagined: He discusses the urgent need for innovative solutions in a world where mental health issues are a growing concern.
2️⃣ The Investment in Innovation: Discover how Psymed Ventures is not just a fund—it's a visionary platform that brings together groundbreaking research and entrepreneurial spirit to transform mental health care.
3️⃣ The Revolutionary Potential of Psychedelics: He shares insights into the promising future of psychedelic therapy, AI's role in personalized care, and how these could drastically improve outcomes for patients worldwide.

👨‍💼 About Matias Serebrinsky:
He isn't just an investor; he's a catalyst for change. A passion has marked his journey from Argentina to Silicon Valley for disruptive technologies. As the force behind Psymed Ventures, Matias leverages his expertise in AI and his entrepreneurial background to champion a new era of mental health treatments that prioritize healing and holistic care. His philosophy is simple yet profound: invest in solutions that heal the mind and uplift humanity.

🎥 Don't miss this compelling episode where we delve into the future of mental health. Tune in now to understand how to join this mental health revolution.

💡 LINKS TO MORE CONTENT
Christian Soschner
Matias Serebrinsky

📌 Quotes:
(00:06:29) I'm keeping my Nvidia shares because Jensen is a once-in-a-generation type of founder, and you never want to bet against someone like that.
(00:20:10) Mental health disorders are rapidly becoming the largest burden of disease for society, more costly than cancer and cardiovascular disease.
(00:52:51) Psych

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00:00:00:00 - 00:00:11:03
Speaker 1
Did you know half of the world's population will suffer from a mental health disorder, surpassing diseases like cancer in societal costs?

00:00:11:03 - 00:00:16:12
Speaker 1
Imagine the impact of revolutionizing think mental health treatment.

00:00:16:12 - 00:00:29:11
Speaker 1
and arguably most of the things that I'm interested in are almost the opposite of looking at stock prices all the time. Like the companies that we invest in will have an exit in

00:00:29:11 - 00:00:32:22
Matias Serebrinsky
five, ten years, 50 years, even so.

00:00:32:22 - 00:00:39:05
Matias Serebrinsky
And so I'm I'm training my brain to always be looking in these, like very long term

00:00:39:05 - 00:00:46:22
Speaker 1
outcomes. And I think that checking stock prices is detrimental to that.

00:00:46:22 - 00:00:55:10
Speaker 1
Today's guest, Mathieu, said Abramsky is not just an investor but a visionary in the field of mental health.

00:00:55:10 - 00:01:03:22
Speaker 1
As the guiding force behind Sammut ventures, Mathias is at the forefront of transforming mental health care.

00:01:03:22 - 00:01:16:07
Speaker 1
His journey from Argentina to Silicon Valley has seen him evolve from a startup founder to an investor focusing on the intersection of technology and mental health.

00:01:16:07 - 00:01:23:16
Speaker 1
In this episode, we dive deep into five key areas

00:01:23:16 - 00:01:28:08
Speaker 1
the evolving landscape of mental health and its societal impact.

00:01:28:08 - 00:01:46:24
Speaker 1
The revolutionary role of psychedelic medicine in treatment, the integration of technology and mental health care, the challenges and opportunities in the current PC market and the future of mental health innovations.

00:01:47:04 - 00:01:54:03
Speaker 1
Each point offering unique insights into the rapidly changing world of mental health care.

00:01:54:03 - 00:01:57:10
Speaker 1
Your engagement is crucial for the success of this podcast.

00:01:57:10 - 00:02:07:19
Speaker 1
By subscribing, commenting and sharing, you help us grow and deliver more insightful content like this episode.

00:02:07:19 - 00:02:14:14
Speaker 1
So don't forget to watch the entire episode for a comprehensive understanding of these critical topics.

00:02:14:14 - 00:02:18:06
Christian Soschner
You still have an idea? Yes.

00:02:18:08 - 00:02:26:23
Matias Serebrinsky
I do. Yes, I. Luckily, I didn't sell all my Nvidia shares once I left the company.

00:02:27:02 - 00:02:32:23
Christian Soschner
How often? So you're close to selling your shares?

00:02:33:16 - 00:03:00:05
Speaker 1
Not very close, because it's not something I look at every day or even on our weekly basis, not even on a monthly basis. I, I try not to occupy my headspace with things like that. And so it's more kind of like a systematic approach where once every three months or so I'll check how things are going and, you know, I'll sell a little bit and keep

00:03:00:05 - 00:03:01:10
Matias Serebrinsky
chunk of them.

00:03:01:13 - 00:03:06:10
Matias Serebrinsky
And so when I learned over time that I just don't have

00:03:06:10 - 00:03:12:24
Speaker 1
the bandwidth to do a lot of kind of like, you know, trading or anything like that. That's not what I mean. Just

00:03:12:24 - 00:03:25:23
Speaker 1
and arguably most of the things that I'm interested in are almost the opposite of looking at stock prices all the time. Like the companies that we invest in will have an exit in

00:03:25:23 - 00:03:29:09
Matias Serebrinsky
five, ten years, 50 years, even so.

00:03:29:09 - 00:03:35:17
Matias Serebrinsky
And so I'm I'm training my brain to always be looking in these, like very long term

00:03:35:17 - 00:03:43:09
Speaker 1
outcomes. And I think that checking stock prices is detrimental to that.

00:03:43:24 - 00:04:16:06
Speaker 2
It's definitely much easier in the private market not to check in on the evaluation or the time in public markets advance. I mean, I invest since public companies instead me think nineties since the nineties started with what later became ETFs and then transitioned some when after 2010 in directly investing in companies in one peak was in video which I'm very happy in this year but it was really a ride from 2013 14 onwards.

00:04:16:12 - 00:04:33:17
Speaker 2
I was I think three times close to Saturday at that the possibility everybody was right except me. Chips are a cyclical business. There is no uptake in valuation. No matter what happens in the world. And 2024, it changed everything.

00:04:34:09 - 00:04:43:02
Speaker 1
Yeah, well, I joined in video in 2017 and even then the stock had, you know,

00:04:43:02 - 00:04:48:01
Matias Serebrinsky
grown a little bit, but it was nowhere close to where it was

00:04:48:01 - 00:05:07:17
Speaker 1
today. And and arguably the pandemic changed a lot. And that, you know, there's like many reasons, But one reason is that it just became more clear after 2021 that a lot of the bets that Nvidia had made made sense.

00:05:07:17 - 00:05:30:10
Speaker 1
And frankly, for many years we looked a little bit like fools in the sense of we had this cash cow, which was video games, right? And so like graphics cards being used for video games and, you know, basically processing graphics in one way or another, like, you know, 3D effects and stuff like that. But that was a cash cow.

00:05:30:10 - 00:05:54:02
Speaker 1
And so many of the resources of the company were actually going towards getting stronger and developing more tools and libraries and platforms around AI. And, you know, so many people were asking, why are you doing this? Even the chip design at some point included kind of like machine learning capabilities embedded into the into the hardware itself. So it wasn't just like software.

00:05:54:06 - 00:06:20:20
Speaker 1
I made all these graphics cards a lot more expensive, but they didn't really have a lot of use for the core use of graphics cards at that time, which was, you know, 3D like graphics rendering in one way or another. And, you know, fast forward today and that made so much sense and, you know, so much credit goes to Jensen, who a CEO and founder of Nvidia.

00:06:20:20 - 00:06:44:19
Speaker 1
He's an absolute visionary and arguably one of the people I learned the most in my career. And so that is why, you know, to your point of if I'm keeping or selling my Nvidia shares, I'm keeping my Nvidia shares because he's a once in a generation type of founder and you never want to bet against someone like that.

00:06:45:05 - 00:06:50:09
Christian Soschner
yeah, that's true. Did you have a chance to speak directly to him? Very well, yes. Nvidia Corp.

00:06:50:11 - 00:07:05:11
Matias Serebrinsky
Yes. Yes. Many times. I, you know, was both in meetings where, you know, I was presenting to him or else just participating in the kind of, you know, more passive role but was still small

00:07:05:11 - 00:07:14:09
Speaker 1
gatherings where I had the opportunity to just see how he thinks and interacts and, you know, tackles problems. And it's it's so unique.

00:07:14:09 - 00:07:22:16
Speaker 1
It's you, you kind of realize how much a person has individually. A person can have a profound impact

00:07:22:16 - 00:07:24:05
Matias Serebrinsky
in in society.

00:07:24:06 - 00:07:51:08
Matias Serebrinsky
Right. And a lot of data I kind of transferred into my role as an early stage investor where sure, we're investing in themes and technologies and topics, but ultimately we're invested in people because they, you know, they can bend the reality if they are smart and strong and kind of passionate enough about what they're doing.

00:07:51:21 - 00:08:17:22
Speaker 2
That this is something we need to remember. I think we are aware that business is always between people. It's from one person to another person and not some magical entity dealing with some other magical entity. You mentioned an important part before looking like for the Nvidia story told me one thing that anybody who doesn't wants to look like a fool shouldn't go into their investment Vogues.

00:08:17:24 - 00:08:45:21
Speaker 2
I think their biggest value uptake comes from a contrarian approach investing in things where before anybody thinks it will be the next big thing. And the downside of this habit is you always look like a fool with your background. So let me come to the first question. Our conversation. I found out that you grew up in Argentina and then moved to California and later created

00:08:45:21 - 00:08:46:14
Christian Soschner
some adventures.

00:08:46:14 - 00:08:55:20
Christian Soschner
Can you share a little bit more insights on your journey? What brought you from Argentina? Took some adventures in the end of the day.

00:08:56:04 - 00:09:02:23
Matias Serebrinsky
Well, I'll try to keep it short, but, you know, to your point, I was born and

00:09:02:23 - 00:09:18:07
Speaker 1
raised in Argentina and I started working for a big technology company there and got an offer to move to Silicon Valley as the kind of headquarters of the company. That's where the headquarters were located. And

00:09:18:07 - 00:09:26:15
Matias Serebrinsky
I was leading a part of our Latin American business out of San Mateo here in California.

00:09:26:17 - 00:09:35:02
Matias Serebrinsky
And what is interesting or relevant about that is that as soon as I moved here, I got exposed to the startup ecosystem

00:09:35:02 - 00:09:52:09
Speaker 1
and everyone around me was in one way or another involved with technology and startups, right? Either starting a company or being early employees in a company. And I got infected with the entrepreneurial virus very, very early on.

00:09:52:09 - 00:10:20:17
Speaker 1
And so after a couple of years of being here in Silicon Valley, I decided to start at the company myself. And that was kind of the the initial point or the kernel for what I'm doing now. And so since 2013, I, you know, got involved in startups and it's been ten years now and I never looked back. And so so I started a company here, led the company for the first five years.

00:10:20:17 - 00:10:52:22
Speaker 1
And after I exited my, my position in the company, I realized, number one, how much I was still interested. And, you know, the only path for me would be to be involved with a startup or startups in general. But at the same time, I really didn't want to start another company. It's it's a humbling experience. It's, you know, one of, if not the most challenging experience that anyone will have as as a professional in their professional business life.

00:10:52:24 - 00:11:20:14
Speaker 1
And so one of the options there was to become an investor. And so, you know, from an investment perspective, especially early stage investor, you're involved day to day with entrepreneurs, you're supporting them and you're you're an active participant, right? It's quite the opposite of, you know, investing in the public markets where you just buy and then, you know, don't really have much to say here.

00:11:20:14 - 00:11:56:09
Speaker 1
It's it's quite the opposite. I always say that I actually work for the entrepreneurs that we back and yeah, so, so that was the path from Argentina to technology to startup to becoming an investor. And that's how I ended up at NVIDIA, where I was supporting and investing in companies, working on AI and more specifically companies kind of building on top of NVIDIA immediate products and platforms, right?

00:11:56:11 - 00:12:26:24
Speaker 1
The path from there to summit is more related to my own interest. And so although I was really enjoying investing in really, really hard technical problems with the AI, and that is one of the main differences with where A.I. is today. Today we have this huge infrastructure and kind of like all the so many pipes and picks and shovels have been laid out so you can build, you know, application companies on top of that.

00:12:26:24 - 00:12:59:00
Speaker 1
But when I started working with AI, that wasn't the case. And so a lot of what we were doing were really, really technical problem because those foundations weren't laid out. And so although that was fascinating, my heart was very much in mental health and brain health. And so so I was kind of, you know, living at Clark Kent and super my life a little bit where, you know, my 9 to 5 was doing AI stuff.

00:12:59:00 - 00:13:16:16
Speaker 1
And then outside of work, I was donating time and money and just knowledge to companies and nonprofits in mental health. And so in 2020, I decided to launch a fund that would actually, you know, be focused on what's my passion, which is mental health.

00:13:17:09 - 00:13:44:13
Speaker 2
It's great. You mentioned that you started the company, did some research. I use Google Docs today, and Google had said community. Was it this company that you is is the closed around recently 747 million for for food and my question to you with this background in food and mental health is do you see a connection between what people eat and their mental state?

00:13:44:15 - 00:13:52:01
Speaker 1
Yeah, that's a very timely question, actually, because we are discovering so many there's a lot of, you know,

00:13:52:01 - 00:14:20:02
Matias Serebrinsky
researchers and studies that are now kind of like mapping the relationship between food and mental health. And so so number one, yes, food as medicine as an investable theme is huge. You have now companies that are kind of working on this for the treatment of cancer and they're going through FDA clinical trials to get, you know, basically a therapeutic approved that is basically food.

00:14:20:02 - 00:14:48:12
Matias Serebrinsky
Right. And you know, companies like this have been backed by funds like Khosla Ventures, Katie, Kansas Ventures, These are, you know, really, really serious funds that are buying on this theme of food. That's amazing. One of the one of my favorite examples of this is the ketogenic diet, right? So many of us know the ketogenic diet as something that is healthy that

00:14:48:12 - 00:14:50:06
Speaker 1
people use to lose weight.

00:14:50:08 - 00:15:23:14
Speaker 1
But the ketogenic diet, it was actually invented around 100 years ago for the treatment of epilepsy. And it's extremely effective for refractory epilepsy. So like treatment resistant epilepsy. Fast forward to today and there are a few randomized controlled trials. So very rigorous trials that are showing that the ketogenic diet is also extremely effective for the treatment of bipolar schizophrenia and depression.

00:15:23:16 - 00:15:49:18
Speaker 1
So so that's just one example of it. And I think that over time will be able to systematize and productize different diets for the treatment of different mental health disorders. So that is a topic that I'm it's very new for us. We're still kind of exploring it, but the data are fascinating.

00:15:50:03 - 00:16:24:23
Christian Soschner
And what's one that's just a question before we got into mental health and your fund, I always wondered if food is really investable. I mean, the majority of my business life since 2006 is interactive development, and it was always about patents and having a product that someone can deliver. And then I look at foods. One of my passions was also doing a little bit of private research in lifestyle, especially in Eastern medicine's Eastern philosophies with martial arts and foods has tremendous value in this area.

00:16:25:03 - 00:16:46:00
Christian Soschner
But the answer to so was always with food, you can't really file a patent on that. I mean, what you can do with my opinion, extracting a part of the substance that is the most potent and try to fiddle around that make your product out of it. But when I look at the Eastern philosophies, it's not what they are talking about.

00:16:46:00 - 00:17:03:12
Christian Soschner
To talk about an intake of several substances at the same time vision, nutrition. Do you see this area really as a target area of disease? Even someone must pay for the clinical trials and the obvious wonder how investors can create a turnaround in that area.

00:17:03:20 - 00:17:32:00
Speaker 1
Yeah, I agree with you that it is a different model than, you know, traditional drug development. In that sense, the IP strategy is very different, but this is not theory. They're practical examples of companies that have been extremely successful on this. And I would argue it's more on the realm of health care than life sciences, right? It's less biotech, more health care care delivery, so to speak.

00:17:32:02 - 00:18:05:17
Speaker 1
One of my favorite examples is a company called Veritas VI to Birth of Health, and they focused on metabolic dysfunction or metabolic disorders, diabetes, type two being kind of the biggest one there. And they have a model where basically they have three pillars. One pillar is dietary interventions, right? So so like, you know, designing a diet that's basically low carb diet and then coaching and peer support, constant coaching.

00:18:05:19 - 00:18:29:08
Speaker 1
And this company goes through market goes to market through employers and also through payers and insurance companies. And it's valued at over $2 billion today and it has a lot of room to grow. So so clearly there ways of doing this right. But the moat and the defense ability doesn't come from, you know, a patent.

00:18:29:18 - 00:18:42:19
Christian Soschner
It's good to hear that they can capture market value. 2 billion is a huge number. It's a huge number. Is this great when you talk about MetLife? I mean, I'm close to 50. So when I was in my twenties,

00:18:42:19 - 00:18:53:22
Christian Soschner
anytime when someone said I feel sick or depressed was at the Moses of the Depression, the social environment said, Suck it up, it's nothing.

00:18:53:24 - 00:19:06:01
Christian Soschner
Go to work, be happy, it's easy. How do you see it these days? In 2023? Mental health. Especially when we talk about the reception of society as a whole. But mental health is.

00:19:06:01 - 00:19:37:03
Speaker 1
Yeah, I mean, it's almost a tale of two cities or something like that where on one side there is lower stigma and people are more open to talking about it. And arguably the younger generations are leading the way there where, you know, on Tik-Tok, on Instagram and social media and in general, they there are a lot more open about their struggles with mental health and, you know, the value of going to therapy, for example.

00:19:37:03 - 00:20:09:16
Speaker 1
So that is very promising. And I think as are so many things, young folks lead the way and they move kind of like where something is on the through the Overton window. So they make it more acceptable. And that is definitely happening today. And then the other side of the story is that there's never been a higher need for mental health solutions because more and more people are suffering with mental health disorders.

00:20:09:16 - 00:20:43:18
Speaker 1
We're in a society that is really making us sick. There's a new study that just came out that says that half of the world population will suffer with a mental health disorder, and mental health disorders are rapidly becoming the largest burden of disease for society. So these diseases are illnesses are more costly than, you know, cancer and cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease and all of these things.

00:20:43:18 - 00:21:15:04
Speaker 1
So so depends if you see the glass half empty or half full, what do you decide to take? My perspective is that on one side, I'm optimistic because we're finding better solutions and people are kind of like more open to it, But also it's not trending in the right direction. So this will require a lot of work, a lot of more, you know, more work than what any entrepreneur or investor can do.

00:21:15:04 - 00:21:29:01
Speaker 1
This will require changes in policy, changes in kind of like incentives. This is a complete, you know, housing, economic equality. This is something much bigger than the biotech sector.

00:21:30:05 - 00:22:01:00
Christian Soschner
Yeah, I believe that. I think it was Woody Allen who said the closets are helpful, but forgive poison. I think it was in the movies. Coop, you said 2 to 1 out of two will suffer from mental health. The number that I find with research is one out of four. And it was Christian I admire in one of his posts last year who said it's basically everybody who will suffer at one point in time from a mental health crisis in their lives.

00:22:01:02 - 00:22:04:03
Christian Soschner
How do you position your fund in this area?

00:22:04:14 - 00:22:05:18
Matias Serebrinsky
Yeah, that's an

00:22:05:18 - 00:22:49:00
Speaker 1
interesting observation because the way I see mental health is a spectrum that goes from disease to thriving. And so obviously the DSM, the kind of like diagnostic manual for psychiatric conditions, defines what it is to have a mental health disorder being depression, anxiety, PTSD, it's schizophrenia, bipolar. Right. But the fact that you don't have a mental health disorder doesn't mean that you would have benefit from some of the interventions that could make you live a fuller life, because ultimately, the goal for all of us is not just to survive, right?

00:22:49:00 - 00:23:20:20
Speaker 1
It's not just to, you know, be free of disease, but to thrive, to do great. And so so I agree with Christine's kind of take on the fact that the addressable market is everyone but from a coverage reimbursement reimbursement perspective, you know, where the value is and where the market is is kind of like focused on disease. And so what you said, you know, these are just statistics or not even data, but estimations.

00:23:20:20 - 00:23:46:19
Speaker 1
And so it used to be one in five. Then during the pandemic that moved to one in four, one in three. Now they're saying that it's one in two people that will suffer from a mental health disorder. So so I pay less attention to what that specific number is, and I pay more attention to like how it is trending and unfortunately, it's not, you know, trending in the right direction.

00:23:46:19 - 00:23:55:12
Speaker 1
So I hope that answered your question, but maybe you want to double click on on something else. I feel like you ask a couple more things that maybe I didn't address.

00:23:55:15 - 00:23:58:11
Speaker 2
Yeah, sure. I think. Exactly

00:23:58:11 - 00:24:11:05
Christian Soschner
At what point would you say some one is part of the threat level market? What are the signs that people should look out? How do you define a mental health crisis for your fund?

00:24:11:07 - 00:24:15:09
Matias Serebrinsky
Well,

00:24:15:09 - 00:24:44:21
Speaker 1
we focus on interventions that can be or will be paid by someone. So that is kind of like the broad definition in a very simple, straightforward way. If you have a diagnosis of depression, anxiety and whatnot that is covered by insurance. And so we kind of like look for treatments that will be covered by insurance. So that is that is kind of the most simple one.

00:24:45:01 - 00:25:10:15
Speaker 1
But what we're focusing on more and more today is kind of direct to consumer approaches as well. And this idea of the betterment of the people that are doing well. And so a great example of this is neurotechnology. So in neurotechnology you have some approaches that need to be prescribed and are FDA regulated, but then you have different approaches.

00:25:10:17 - 00:25:45:12
Speaker 1
One being tDCS. So basically low level electrical stimulation that doesn't require a prescription. Right? And so these approaches, you know, are proven to help with ADHD, for example, but also for folks that want to improve their cognition or attention, it could be useful as well. And so the arguably, from an investment perspective, the bar is higher there because there is this idea of what is a painkiller and what is a vitamin.

00:25:45:18 - 00:26:19:13
Speaker 1
And usually common wisdom says that people will pay for painkillers, but they're less likely to pay for vitamins. Right. Something that doesn't have this acute need. And so so that is a way that we also think of where we stand and what we back kind of what we consider is something that is investable. And and to your point, what what is a mental health crisis is like, okay, even if something is not really considered within, you know, a diagnosable disease, what would take what would it take for someone to pay for it?

00:26:19:13 - 00:26:49:08
Speaker 1
Right on. And, you know, then it just varies by company. It's it's a little bit harder to put hard and fast rules there. But but I do believe that there will be things that will be paid by consumers that are related to mental health. The best examples today of this is the meditation apps like Calm and Headspace. These are huge companies and, you know, people are increasingly paying for them.

00:26:49:08 - 00:27:13:02
Speaker 1
And when I say increasingly paying for them is, number one, more people are subscribing to these apps. But what is fascinating is that these apps are increasing prices without really seeing a lot of people drop. And so their willingness to pay for mental wellness technologies is higher than what we initially thought.

00:27:13:04 - 00:27:35:17
Speaker 2
Let's dig deeper in this part. You mentioned what I liked. What you said was painkillers. So the promise of painkillers is quite simple. You have pain, it hurts, take a painkiller and the pain is gone. So I think this isn't a quick fix. People understand it. You have one state, you pay, you get the drug pain scan, you have the outcome, the result.

00:27:35:17 - 00:28:00:05
Speaker 2
It's quite clear which vitamins you mentioned. I completely understand that it's more about longevity and especially for 20 years old, the claim of, yeah, you may live long. I mean, not you will not die with 50, you might live to 55. It's not so cancer, but the asset, the reason why they should pay what they completely don't understand is too high.

00:28:00:06 - 00:28:17:06
Speaker 2
With the apps like com meditation apps. When I started meditating, it was basically say, meditation, sit down, look at the or brief and you don't need anything. We had this this hype come from in your opinion for meditation apps.

00:28:17:21 - 00:28:35:01
Matias Serebrinsky
Yeah we're not investors in column nor headspace. We actually came online as a fund much later than when they were launched. But there is something there that we think a lot about that it's a huge takeaway, which is

00:28:35:01 - 00:28:46:10
Speaker 1
so much of what we do is removing friction for things that are already available. But there's a lot of friction.

00:28:46:12 - 00:29:09:08
Speaker 1
And so when I think about the way that you started meditating, read on how much, what was the effort there, then you look at things like calmer headspace and all that is kind of, you know, lower a little bit. The friction and the effort that it took for folks to sit down and maintain, you know, two, three, four or five times a week.

00:29:09:10 - 00:29:48:11
Speaker 1
And I'm very optimistic that we're finding better technologies to remove the friction even more. There are companies today that, you know, in this line of meditation are focused on something that's called neurofeedback. And so they're doing neurofeedback assisted meditation where basically what they help you do is access deep meditation states more reliably and faster, because even with calm and let alone, you know, with self-care, guided meditation, the amount of time and the years it takes to access this kind of like deep awareness states is huge.

00:29:48:13 - 00:30:22:01
Speaker 1
And so what if we could help folks access states that only, you know, monks can can access today? You know, week instead of ten years, how many more people will come into this space? And so so that is kind of like how I make sense of calm headspace. But also I just think about them as the first step in a much, much bigger ladder or kind of like staircase that will take us to expanding the market of experienced meditators.

00:30:22:03 - 00:30:54:19
Speaker 2
I think it's an interesting point for any piece, especially, I mean, 20, 30 years ago it was basically track and now understand you, right? The market opens up so much more is on the consumer side. Much more consumers are really willing to pay for solutions when the value proposition is right. Do you really think it's possible to achieve in market like states much easier than living somewhere in China in a remote mountain area, sitting down every day for 8 hours meditating?

00:30:54:21 - 00:31:30:11
Speaker 1
I don't think so. I know that I I've seen studies where people that are meditation naive so they've never meditated in their lives. They got a neurostimulation intervention. So through neurostimulation, a specific type of neurostimulation, they they kind of like explained that the state that they had, it was very, very similar. It's not the same kind of way expert meditators were able to access.

00:31:30:13 - 00:31:51:00
Speaker 1
So I've seen this, you know, firsthand. I've kind of like met these people. I've read testimonials about it. So I think can be done. And the question now is, okay, how can you scale that? How can you productize it and how you can do it in a way that is also ethical Because this idea of bliss on demand,

00:31:51:00 - 00:31:56:07
Matias Serebrinsky
although it sounds crazy compelling, but it, it also it's dangerous, right?

00:31:56:07 - 00:31:57:03
Matias Serebrinsky
And so

00:31:57:03 - 00:32:19:09
Speaker 1
there are a lot of ethical questions around that. But ultimately I think that these technologies can help alleviate suffering in this idea of friction. I just want to mention one more example that is fascinating to me, and then we can go back to, you know, meditation and kind of like, how can we do this? We talked about food, right?

00:32:19:09 - 00:32:51:10
Speaker 1
And this idea that something like the ketogenic diet could be very, very effective for the treatment of mental health disorders. The thing with the ketogenic diet is that it's really hard to comply or adhere to, right? There's a lot of friction. So what I'm thinking about right now is what would it look like to reduce friction there? How do we make, you know, people, people's lives easier when, you know, being on a ketogenic, strict ketogenic diet?

00:32:51:10 - 00:33:08:02
Speaker 1
And the beauty of what I'm saying is that there's a lot of business opportunities in in just that. So so anyhow, that is another example of this idea of lowering friction and by lowering friction, getting more people with effective mental health treatments.

00:33:08:20 - 00:33:30:00
Speaker 2
I mean, it's very good to say because so far as you can see, it is vastly amount of possible business models. My question always was, I know meditation works because I do it now for three decades, and I know that diet work, but when you can't turn it in a product and my thinking was always product treatments, I really can't turn it into a product.

00:33:30:00 - 00:33:55:04
Speaker 2
It's really hard to invest in that area and I think what you said is that in California, people are much more inventive with business models and completed on the market. Then I can bring up in my mind what are business models in your area that you think will help and peace when they invest in funds like yours? Creativity Turn off that investment.

00:33:55:20 - 00:34:09:07
Matias Serebrinsky
So so if I understand the question correctly, what are these business models that are different than kind of, you know, IP defense ability from that basically team of matter.

00:34:09:10 - 00:34:39:20
Christian Soschner
Maybe maybe at another effort, most of the inventions are treatments that I see that would be possible are basically service based and in their environment. I grew up they always sat service based businesses are not really good investments because they cannot capture a lot of market value. And you said that one company now is better than 2 billion, which is a completely different number than not capturing any market value.

00:34:39:22 - 00:34:56:08
Christian Soschner
My question to you is how to read business models of the future. Looking like in such what I call service related businesses that help investors in funds like you also tend invest in this models creativity turn on their investment.

00:34:56:14 - 00:35:08:17
Matias Serebrinsky
Yeah well there there are many different business models I it's impossible to kind of you know point one but I'll mention a couple just brainstorming.

00:35:08:17 - 00:35:09:09
Christian Soschner
Just brainstorming.

00:35:09:09 - 00:35:15:19
Matias Serebrinsky
Yeah, yeah, I'll mention a couple that come to mind from our own portfolio. One is

00:35:15:19 - 00:35:40:05
Speaker 1
there, you know, there's defensible patents in neurostimulation, right? So that could be considered kind of like a medical device where there's an invention there and there's a patent around there that could be considered or there could be patents around this specific protocol through which you're doing the neurostimulation.

00:35:40:07 - 00:36:17:13
Speaker 1
So an example of this outside of our portfolio is in TMS. TMS is transcranial magnetic stimulation. It's a way of doing neurostimulation that is quite effective, very effective for the treatment of depression at least. And it's been studied and validated for other conditions like OCD, anxiety addiction as well. But but here, you know, the device itself, it's not patentable, but what it is patentable, for example, is there specific protocol through which you're doing the stimulation?

00:36:17:15 - 00:36:56:21
Speaker 1
So what is the frequency? What is the amplitude? How often you do this? And there are a few really interesting companies being built around this. And another example is with brain entrainment, where basically you are synchronizing brainwaves with an external stimuli could be light, it could be sound. And so what is being what's defensible there is the way that you're emitting that sound light, a company that spun out of M.I.T. called Cognitive Therapeutics raised around $70 million and is in clinical trials.

00:36:56:21 - 00:37:28:09
Speaker 1
It's a clinical phase company doing it for Alzheimer's. So so that would be an example right outside of drug development where there's a very, very kind of like defensible business model. And then the other one and this could be the case with some of these companies doing care delivery is precision medicine, where there's so much value in knowing which treatment to which person at what time read.

00:37:28:11 - 00:38:04:05
Speaker 1
And in order to do that, in order to actually have a precision medicine approach, you need a lot of data. And so they're the the patent is not the moat, but what is the moat is that data itself, which, you know, in some many in so many cases extremely hard to collect and have high quality data. And so when I see a company that has that has proprietary data that they've been collecting for a long time, and it makes sense, you know, that is that is not different than how Google makes money and has, you know, a huge percentage of market share.

00:38:04:05 - 00:38:06:00
Speaker 1
It's just data itself.

00:38:06:02 - 00:38:25:16
Speaker 2
The other markets, I think also the technological environment changed tremendously in the last ten years. You mentioned sound and like this must be sound business models for Apple, for example. I mean, to have enough devices on the market that could potentially use standard technologies too. So too bold assumption.

00:38:25:18 - 00:38:28:02
Speaker 1
Yeah.

00:38:28:04 - 00:38:30:03
Speaker 1
Can you sorry, can you repeat the question?

00:38:30:09 - 00:39:06:23
Speaker 2
It was you you mentioned before that kind of technology in development basically that can help people with emitting sound and try to just simplify it. So these inventions must be easily implementable in devices like Apple, Apple, iPhone, iPad, whatever comes out, the AirPods, for example. So the technologically landscape changed. What could be something really for for companies like Apple that could benefit or could help people with their devices they already use.

00:39:07:00 - 00:39:44:06
Speaker 1
That's, again, a very timely question. The short answer is we don't know people are exploring these or researching this today. We don't have so so today we have, you know, preclinical and clinical studies that, you know, in mice and in humans show potential benefits of brain entrainment. Right. I'm aware of, you know, studies in humans for Alzheimer's. I'm aware of preclinical studies, animal studies for depression with specific light frequencies.

00:39:44:08 - 00:40:07:13
Speaker 1
Right. But these are using they're not that sophisticated, but devices. But they're not iPhones. I post this same question to some of these researchers, and the answer I got is that we don't know yet. It could be the case that you're just doing it with an iPhone or any other cell phone and you're just using the flashlight of your iPhone.

00:40:07:15 - 00:40:32:17
Speaker 1
But it may not be the case because the precision that you need for how you're emitting light, it may not be achievable with an iPhone or maybe achievable with an iPhone that will come in three years from now, which is a no that. But it's still kind of fascinating what can be achieved there and the science around that.

00:40:32:17 - 00:40:50:09
Speaker 1
It's a lot more complicated than what you would think where basically you are regulating or regulating things like glial cells. Right. And so so there's there's a lot that we don't know there, but it's quite promising.

00:40:50:11 - 00:41:16:10
Speaker 2
But it can it can really turn into products like sound. The Apple classes, for example, would be probably a better device than the iPhone in the future. But for LPC, it means that the technological, technological developments of these days make solutions possible that we aren't investing. We're 20 years ago basically. So now we get all these nice gadgets that can be used as medical devices in the future.

00:41:16:12 - 00:41:42:16
Speaker 2
Think about running, for example. I mean, when I started Marathon Marathon running 12 years ago, I had this band around my chest to measure my cardio and now I have an Apple Watch. Basically, it's much more convenient. Which are the advancements? Do you see mental health that will change the way we treat these diseases?

00:41:42:18 - 00:41:56:08
Speaker 1
Well, I would argue that the brother topic where we're seeing a lot of innovation is this idea of interventional psychiatry. And so basically it means that, you know, the patient

00:41:56:08 - 00:42:06:11
Speaker 1
is involved in the healing itself, right? Like there's an intervention in which the patient is involved and has an active participation. So

00:42:06:11 - 00:42:13:13
Speaker 1
a great example of interventional psychiatry is psychedelic assisted therapy.

00:42:13:15 - 00:42:40:13
Speaker 1
So we're seeing in the past, I would argue in the past 15 years we've seen more and more data and clinical studies showing the potential of psychedelics for the treatment of different mental health disorders. And so in the past few years what happened is that some of that data that was developed and created in academia has been translated into companies.

00:42:40:13 - 00:43:17:24
Speaker 1
And so we have an organization called MAPS, which is in phase three clinical trials for the treatment of PTSD using MDMA. MDMA is is, you know, a broadly considered and a psychedelic. And so they actually just wrapped up their second kind of tier of phase three clinical trials. And so very, very soon we'll see the data on at least in the first stage of this phase three data were we're amazing.

00:43:17:24 - 00:43:49:16
Speaker 1
We're extremely promising, where 67% of participants remit remitted. So so they didn't have a diagnosis of PTSD anymore. And these were folks that, you know, some in some cases had had a diagnosis of PTSD for ten, 15, 20 years. And then almost 80% of participants saw some type of improvement you just don't see numbers like this in psychiatry anywhere.

00:43:49:18 - 00:44:32:22
Speaker 1
And so so so that is kind of like the most advanced example you have another company that is developing psilocybin for the treatment of depression, and they are in phase two clinical trials as well. And so that is an extremely promising area. Psychedelics for the treatment of mental health disorders. We've we have a number of investments in that area, both in companies doing drug development and in companies laying out the foundations and the picks and shovels, the infrastructure for psychedelic therapy to be safe and effectively deliver.

00:44:32:24 - 00:45:07:07
Speaker 1
The reason why it's intra stain and also different than the current paradigm is that you're you're not just focused on hiding or treating symptoms, you're actually focused on healing people. And you know what's called curative treatments, where what we're seeing is that, you know, folks do these treatments one, two, three times maybe, right. Like they have. You know, in the case of MDMA, it's three MDMA sessions, three sessions with the medicine.

00:45:07:09 - 00:45:35:11
Speaker 1
And then you check these folks a year, two years later, and they're still in remission. They still don't have kind of like symptoms of PTSD. And so compare that to kind of how the standard of care is today where folks are taking SSRI or, you know, broadly speaking, antidepressants forever. It's like a chronic intake to these. And there's a lot to be hopeful for.

00:45:35:12 - 00:45:40:05
Speaker 1
These people can live fuller, richer lives in a way.

00:45:40:07 - 00:45:57:07
Speaker 2
You said 60 to 80% remission. Does that mean they can stop the therapy and taking psychedelics completely and still don't have an episode after that? After that, you really?

00:45:57:07 - 00:45:58:09
Speaker 1
That's correct.

00:45:58:11 - 00:46:09:06
Speaker 2
It is a game changer because the things that I read about was it's basically a never ending story. I mean, the alternative is we have now it's never ending. It's just ongoing.

00:46:09:08 - 00:46:31:20
Speaker 1
Yeah, that's right. That's what is so promising about it. And as I said, there is an explanation of that, right? Like you're not just treating symptoms. It's it's the difference between, you know, you have a fever, you can take ibuprofen or something like that. You lower the fever, but if you have an infection, you need to treat that infection, right.

00:46:31:22 - 00:46:58:17
Speaker 1
To to actually cure what's happening. And so so that is kind of like the analogy here. People can actually in the case of MDMA for PTSD, people can actually re signify and explore what caused that trauma and heal through that experience. Right. And so so that that is the main thing that can be achieved with psychedelics, but it is not.

00:46:58:17 - 00:47:17:04
Speaker 2
Going to test. One question that pops up in my mind. Is it already well understood by scientists why the two tracks are so effective in treating not just the symptoms but the root cause of the disease or is it still a black box?

00:47:17:14 - 00:47:45:13
Speaker 1
Well, somewhere in between, when I when I first started getting with psychedelic therapy, there were all these, like, very neat explanations of what was happening. One of them was that, you know, for example, psychedelics were deactivating the default mode network, which is kind of networking in the brain that is commonly associated with the sense of self or the ego.

00:47:45:13 - 00:48:09:14
Speaker 1
And the idea was like, Hey, you can lower the ego and that helps you kind of, you know, resurface things that are in the back of your mind that have been kind of like, you know, being held back by it, by the ego today, even that common wisdom is being challenged. So so I would argue that we still don't really understand a lot of this.

00:48:09:16 - 00:48:41:02
Speaker 1
The other kind of like common explanation for why psychedelics work is that they promote neuroplasticity. So the strengthening of the connections between different neurons and potentially neurogenesis as well. So kind of like the development of new neurons, but that that doesn't really explain the totality of what's happening with psychedelics. Maybe that's kind of like a more of a biological explanation.

00:48:41:02 - 00:49:08:15
Speaker 1
So what happens in the brain? But there's more of a psychological explanation of why having these hallucinations, so to speak, are so therapeutic. And that's still an open question. And you have, you know, very interesting theories. But I wouldn't I wouldn't dare to say that we have even a remote understanding of why psychedelics are so effective for the treatment of mental health disorders.

00:49:08:17 - 00:49:11:08
Speaker 2
So much more research is needed in this area.

00:49:11:10 - 00:49:12:14
Speaker 1
I guess

00:49:12:14 - 00:49:39:17
Speaker 1
definitely more research is needed. The good things that FDA doesn't really ask for mechanistic explanations. They just want to make sure that something is safe and effective. And there their clinical trials, you know, many clinical trials that are working on that. And so I think we'll we'll have psychedelic therapies in the market way before we actually understand how they work.

00:49:39:17 - 00:49:54:03
Christian Soschner
You were talking about PTSD, basically. Are there also other studies ongoing or finished already in other disease areas like depression, for example, where psychedelics show that they are effective?

00:49:54:11 - 00:49:55:12
Matias Serebrinsky
Yes, you

00:49:55:12 - 00:50:09:01
Speaker 1
you name it, you have studies in depression, anxiety, OCD, addiction, addiction. It's a huge area in

00:50:09:01 - 00:50:20:00
Matias Serebrinsky
the realm of psychedelics. And so there's one psychedelic. It's called iboga. It's an African shrub that's been used for by

00:50:20:00 - 00:50:38:14
Speaker 1
millennia, by indigenous people in in South Africa and Gabon. What is interesting about it is that it's been now explorer as a treatment for opioid use disorder, and it's proven to be quite effective.

00:50:38:14 - 00:51:04:21
Speaker 1
There's a lot more research needed there, more, more study is needed, but you have that ayahuasca as well. And one of the initial studies that kind of like kick started this psychedelic renaissance, as they say, because the important part about psychedelics is that they have been used for millennia by different, you know, indigenous people all over the world.

00:51:04:21 - 00:51:34:00
Speaker 1
We didn't discover psychedelics, right? And there's so much of wisdom that is coming from these indigenous people, and there's a lot of gratitude which basically reciprocity that we should have folks that, you know, basically have been working with these Masons for forever. But going back to this idea of the psychedelic renaissance, one of the first studies was actually in the context of smoking cessation.

00:51:34:00 - 00:52:05:05
Speaker 1
So using psilocybin for folks that were had tobacco addiction and what's interesting is that it was proven to be really, really effective. And so, so so the potential there is very big and one of the explanations of that is that we have all these definitions of what is depression, anxiety, addiction, but that just our own way as humans to simplify and put things into buckets.

00:52:05:05 - 00:52:15:16
Speaker 1
But surely the biology of these diseases, maybe a lot more common than what we like to think it is.

00:52:15:23 - 00:52:23:01
Christian Soschner
You can use it to cure basically the habit of smoking. I didn't know that.

00:52:23:06 - 00:52:24:18
Matias Serebrinsky
Yes. Yes. Yeah. So.

00:52:24:18 - 00:52:51:12
Speaker 1
that is a big kind of research area within psychedelics, addiction, addiction to alcohol. You have studies around alcohol addiction. There's a company that's doing this for with psilocybin in Canada. They are in clinical trials right now. I think they're moving now to phase two clinical trials where it's basically a psilocybin for alcohol use disorder.

00:52:51:12 - 00:53:27:10
Speaker 1
So you have alcohol, as I mentioned, opiates, tobacco as well. So so it's it's interesting. And again, there are many theories about why this is. But one of them comes from Canadian physician and investigator. His name is Gabor Matta. And what he says is that a lot of these addictions actually stem from untreated or unresolved trauma. So addictions are a way, to self-medicate in a way.

00:53:27:10 - 00:53:45:04
Speaker 1
And so that is where all these converging theories of psychedelics come to be aware. Sure, this is being used for addiction, but surely what's happening is that you're helping treat the underlying cause of that addiction, which is the pain caused by trauma.

00:53:45:07 - 00:54:17:17
Christian Soschner
So when understand you're right, this researcher has the opinion that the root causes of trauma from someone in the past childhood or within what the causal more before birth somewhere which the families carrying around for decades or for centuries or for generations, and it's just handed over for habits, then you apply psychedelic therapy and you can resolve the trauma wherever it comes from.

00:54:17:19 - 00:54:32:19
Christian Soschner
And then they have a discussion, basically. And that's the habit of smoking or drinking, which people try is probably just to cure the symptoms of the trauma to just get over it. Speak promise.

00:54:32:21 - 00:54:33:18
Matias Serebrinsky
Exactly.

00:54:33:18 - 00:55:07:17
Speaker 1
I my disclaimer is that that is one interpretation of what's happening. I happen to mostly agree with that, but I also think that all these things are so hard to kind of simplify old, you know, human diseases, heterogeneous. We're all very different. And so so I could see how for a big number of patients, don't ask what why the addiction ask why the pain.

00:55:07:17 - 00:55:52:00
Speaker 1
Right. What where the pain is coming from. Could it be intergenerational trauma? Could be something else, but that may not be the case for everyone. So I'm still kind of, you know, holding some some doubts about a unified theory for addiction. And just like one thing that is a root cause for everyone's addiction. But I find that explanation very compelling and it aligns with my experience with many people that I met in my life where they uncover why, you know, they had the addiction and what was the underlying shaman they worked on, you know, healing.

00:55:52:02 - 00:55:55:01
Speaker 1
They rid of that addiction.

00:55:55:06 - 00:56:11:22
Speaker 2
Yeah. I mean, first people must see that they have a problem and then they can chew it and change it. And when they look at smoking, the difficult thing is as long as people don't perceive it as a problem, there is no reason to change it. But when they come to the point is to say, okay, smoking is a problem now in my life.

00:56:11:22 - 00:56:36:05
Speaker 2
And I want to change it, then to really quickly run into a void and realize it's not easy. It's not easy getting off smoking, especially when there entail so physically revolves around smoking and everybody smokes getting out of that. And what I understood from your explanation is that psychedelic therapy is has the potential to be a quick game changer.

00:56:36:05 - 00:56:51:14
Speaker 2
So you surface the trauma, you solve it, and then you are free from the addiction when that is really true. I mean, there is a lot of behavior that people perceive as limiting in their lives and what

00:56:51:14 - 00:57:12:11
Christian Soschner
wants to change. It's Do you see an extended use cases for psychedelic drugs basically to change also out of nasty habits. When people realize there is something going on and they want to change it, that's the can not only treat diseases but also any limiting belief and limiting limitations in their lives.

00:57:12:13 - 00:57:19:06
Christian Soschner
When it's rooted in promise, it's coming from a similar problem, like a depression.

00:57:19:08 - 00:57:19:24
Matias Serebrinsky
Yes,

00:57:19:24 - 00:57:46:03
Speaker 1
absolutely. This goes back to the start of our conversation on this idea that the market, the addressable market is everyone, because all of us are in one way or another struggling with something in our lives and something that we'd like to do better or alleviate suffering. And so so an author called Michael Pollan calls this the betterment of the people that are doing well.

00:57:46:05 - 00:58:27:16
Speaker 1
And so psychedelics hold a lot of promise there. And arguably thousands of people every weekend are doing psychedelic journeys that, you know, are aimed towards resolving some issues in their lives without really, you know, this being considered a mental illness. So absolutely, what is worth noting there is that how psychedelics can legally come to market. And so you have different pathways to, you know, for psychedelics going to market decriminalization, kind of adult use or supervised use.

00:58:27:16 - 00:58:55:08
Speaker 1
And there's a couple states in the U.S. where this is being done where you you know, it's not going through FDA, but still it's kind of regulated in one way or another. Not it's not similar to cannabis, but the framework of thinking how something can legally be accessed without FDA kind of approval. In that sense, there is a similar framework where we are same at our focused on is on the medical market.

00:58:55:08 - 00:59:35:10
Speaker 1
And so in that sense psychedelics are will be prescribed for folks that have a diagnosis of depression, PTSD or any other mental health disorder. And so they're the playbook is a lot more aligned with things that you Christine are used to, which is run preclinical studies and then go to phase 1 to 3 and eventually, you know, submit data to the FDA saying, hey, you know, it looks like this therapeutic this drug and kind of explain why I'd say therapy.

00:59:35:10 - 01:00:12:23
Speaker 1
I'm therapeutic there, why this therapeutic is safe and effective. Once that's done, then, you know, payers define how is this reimbursed or covered by their different plans. And, you know, folks can get these therapies prescribed. And so that is where we're focused on. And there are many reasons why we're focused on that. But one of the reasons is that we think that that will be the fastest and the best way for many folks that could access these magazines or these treatments by paying out of pocket will be able to read.

01:00:13:00 - 01:00:45:07
Speaker 1
Ultimately, folks that are in, you know, the VA or the veterans kind of health care system here in the US or Medicare or Medicaid. Folks with, you know, very low incomes or seniors over 65 will get these coverage almost with no out-of-pocket expenses. What is relevant and important to know for folks that are not experienced in this topic of psychedelic therapy is that this is called psychedelic assisted therapy.

01:00:45:11 - 01:01:17:22
Speaker 1
And the reason of that is that this is not a magic pill. This is not easy at all. It's not a you just take a drug and you know you're cured. This is a much more involved painful process where not only the patient needs to go through this journey 1 to 3 times, but also it requires a highly trained person, which could be an MD, a physician, or someone else that can guide the person through this process.

01:01:17:22 - 01:01:34:07
Speaker 1
This process can be really, really challenging. And so ultimately, what we are investing in a fund in the context of psychedelics is psychedelic assisted therapy. It's something much wider and bigger than just a pill.

01:01:34:16 - 01:02:01:19
Speaker 2
So there are a lot of, we would say, obstetrics that needs to be where you have to work to get it out of the way. I mean, I think the public perception of psychedelics, when I look at you in Austria, I think it's somewhere close to cocaine or illegal trucks is one thing. The other thing is that it still means working through trauma.

01:02:01:19 - 01:02:02:03
Speaker 2
So

01:02:02:03 - 01:02:23:03
Christian Soschner
when you say clinical trials, they can prove that it's effective. It means the patient has to undergo psychological deep psychotherapy of therapeutic work with a specialist. So it's not just popping pills and the problem is solved. So it's hard work. It's just the right understanding.

01:02:23:05 - 01:02:23:20
Matias Serebrinsky
That's right.

01:02:23:20 - 01:02:43:03
Speaker 1
Yeah. It's it's hard work. It's not just popping a pill. So it's a very different paradigm, arguably a more expensive part. I'm taking on SSRI every day. It's very affordable, but that's not really curing anything for many folks. And so

01:02:43:03 - 01:02:51:01
Matias Serebrinsky
so that is an interesting kind of question that the field is still going through, which is

01:02:51:01 - 01:03:00:10
Speaker 1
why is this kind of a cost effective treatment and how do you stack this versus kind of the standard of care?

01:03:00:16 - 01:03:24:21
Speaker 1
And we're still kind of like answering those questions. But there are some studies that show that if this is as effective as it's shown to be in clinical trials, although the upfront cost will be more expensive because you're you know, you're paying for the therapies time and everything like that, then ultimately the societal cost is lower because you don't have absenteeism.

01:03:24:21 - 01:03:48:22
Speaker 1
These people don't have other health care, health complications, you know, five, seven years down the line. And so so those are kind of like the exciting questions that we're still answering. And and again, once we have all the answers to those questions, this will not be a venture investable field anymore. The whole point of venture is that when you invest, when there's still open questions.

01:03:49:01 - 01:04:20:09
Christian Soschner
When people still think you're fool because you invest in this area. I mean, to build on what you said, I can imagine that. I mean, we need a lot more psychotherapists, basically. I mean, it's already limiting factor here in Europe that we have not enough here in Austria. I think it takes a year or so until someone gets an empty spot when it's covered by social insurance and not paid with with their own money.

01:04:20:11 - 01:04:25:04
Christian Soschner
And the second thing is that you mentioned.

01:04:27:03 - 01:04:29:02
Speaker 1
That.

01:04:29:04 - 01:04:54:12
Speaker 2
Basically it's not an easy way, but at the end of the day, it's a lifetime in people gets their life back. So basically, I mean, depression is such a hard thing. So depression leads to procrastination not being effective in the workplace or not working at all. So when young people have a trauma from their child, so it means

01:04:54:12 - 01:04:58:21
Christian Soschner
they still are part of society for decades but not really productive.

01:04:59:02 - 01:05:05:23
Christian Soschner
Did you do any studies on that? What's that mean? Stand for society? How much that activity comes back?

01:05:06:00 - 01:05:06:14
Matias Serebrinsky
Yeah.

01:05:06:14 - 01:05:39:19
Speaker 1
there are many studies that show that folks that are experiencing depression, for example, you know, from a societal cost, obviously, as you mentioned, the absenteeism, the loss in productivity. But also there's a huge correlation between depression and poor physical health. Read and this is by directional right. Having poor physical health can lead to depression, but also in many cases, folks that have depression ultimately down the line have a lot more physical health complications.

01:05:39:19 - 01:05:43:09
Speaker 1
And, you know, they need to go back to the health care system to treat that. And

01:05:43:09 - 01:05:58:02
Matias Serebrinsky
so so, yes, there is there's many, many, many studies that show these not so much in the context of psychedelics, but this is allowed this is older than psychedelics. And this correlation is very well characterized.

01:05:58:06 - 01:06:01:00
Christian Soschner
When you don't get a psychotherapist here in Austria, people

01:06:01:00 - 01:06:21:10
Speaker 2
treat their depression mostly before alcohol. So this then results in poor health for which drives them further down the road. And they're not productive at all at the end of the day. So they are basically have other health issues further down the road. I did some work with professors at UCL and

01:06:21:10 - 01:06:40:12
Christian Soschner
then you have them then in their forties and fifties to have problems with the liver, liver failure and it becomes really expensive and psychedelics can treat it. So when the first symptoms set on and we has the necessary resources of psychotherapists who can help people, I think it's a promising, promising routes to go.

01:06:40:14 - 01:06:41:04
Matias Serebrinsky
Yeah. And

01:06:41:04 - 01:07:14:18
Speaker 1
also, you know, to, to your comment on the lack of trained therapists or psychotherapists, you know, I would say the difference is that a lot of the therapist work in psychedelics happens upfront. So so let's say someone needs to go through roughly 30 hours of psychotherapy, including maybe like for the hours, including the the psychedelic sessions and the in between sessions, let's just say it's for hours.

01:07:14:20 - 01:07:40:01
Speaker 1
So those are a lot of hours. But compare that to someone that is in therapy for, you know, three years. And just assuming they go to therapy once a week, that's 150 hours. So that is where the equation starts to make a lot more sense. Right. And where potentially, you know, psychedelics can actually alleviate that lack of supply.

01:07:40:03 - 01:08:22:20
Speaker 1
Right. Like lack of enough workforce. When it comes to therapists, I think like the model of going to therapy once a week, it's just not scalable and we will never be able to catch up with the demand. And so we need to be more creative in terms of how we deal with this. And so as I mentioned, psychedelics is an example of this group therapy in the context of psychedelics, even more and going full circle even, you know, I we, we have a few investments that are leveraging AI to augment the therapist work where you know, they can they're not out of the loop.

01:08:22:22 - 01:08:35:00
Speaker 1
These are not autonomous agents that are treating folks, but they augmenting the therapists work. So in a way, one therapist could do the work that used to be done by three or four therapists.

01:08:35:02 - 01:08:52:07
Speaker 2
Would you imagine about in the future where you combine psychedelics with artificial intelligence in a way that people can self-manage kids at home without the therapist.

01:08:52:09 - 01:09:31:03
Speaker 1
In theory, yes. In practice, I think this is, you know, very, very far down the road. And it's not that it's even close to happening. I think with specifically with psychedelics, we're so focused on safety that that's just not really a priority. The priority right now is to get these magazines in the market, get this, you know, show that they are safe and effective and start building from there so so from a mental health perspective, I'm not really that bullish on these, you know, completely independent autonomous solutions yet.

01:09:31:09 - 01:09:54:16
Speaker 1
It may, you know, happen in the future. What I'm a lot more bullish on today is using AI to augment the practitioner's work in one way or another. It could be the back office work, it could be the front office could be doing sessions. There's a lot of different ways that this can be done, obviously in drug development as well.

01:09:54:18 - 01:10:01:24
Speaker 1
But but we're not we're not really focused on kind of removing the human out of the loop.

01:10:01:24 - 01:10:33:17
Christian Soschner
I don't think it's possible. Humans like being treated by humans, I guess. So to have some physicians to say that they have a better outcome and to spend more time with the patients. And as you mentioned, they very often complain that they have too much administrative work to do, which limits their time on the patients. So I think this is the big promise of artificial intelligence, probably to give them more time for patients and make the patient physician interaction much more productive.

01:10:33:19 - 01:10:38:12
Matias Serebrinsky
Absolutely. Yeah. That's that is what we're betting on from our

01:10:38:12 - 01:10:40:16
Speaker 1
care delivery perspective.

01:10:40:18 - 01:10:56:11
Speaker 2
When some piece listening or some startups are listening, can you outline one or two of your investments so that people understand your sweet spots, what you actually did in season investible Target.

01:10:56:13 - 01:10:57:01
Speaker 1
Yeah,

01:10:57:01 - 01:11:22:07
Matias Serebrinsky
absolutely. Well, so let me just say that, as you mentioned, mental health is a huge issue. And so one of the main things that sometimes when we run into new LPs, what is it's like this sounds too small, this is a niche. And I go back to what we discussed at the beginning. Mental health is the largest indication in health care.

01:11:22:09 - 01:11:59:09
Matias Serebrinsky
And health care in many countries, especially in the US, is the largest budget item in the GDP. Right? And so these are largest item in health care, which is the largest item in America's GDP. And so so, you know, there's there's no lack of investable opportunities here. There's a lot of things. But, you know, to your question of interesting companies that I could name one one company that we started or we got involved very early on, it's called Journey Clinical.

01:11:59:14 - 01:12:30:04
Matias Serebrinsky
It's a company based out of New York and the way that I like to explain what they do is that they empower independent psychotherapists to safely and effectively offer psychedelic assisted therapy. So what's what's the kind of like pain point here? Psychotherapists are a much larger population, much larger group than psychiatrists, right? But psychotherapists cannot prescribe any drugs.

01:12:30:04 - 01:12:59:24
Matias Serebrinsky
And so they're in this difficult position where they would like to work with psychedelics, but they just cannot prescribe it to patients. And so what journey they ask is that they come in, ask they're, you know default physician, an M.D. and partner with the patient and the psychotherapist. So they create these like three way relationship where the patient can safely and effectively offer or access psychedelics.

01:12:59:24 - 01:13:26:23
Matias Serebrinsky
Right? And so this is expanding the market size and the folks that can access and can offer psychedelics tremendously by, you know, 100 that actually so and so in that sense, it's a really interesting company. We we backed them at their pre-seed and seeded and then CSA as well and they recently raised to around from a fund that's called Union Square Ventures.

01:13:26:23 - 01:13:55:16
Matias Serebrinsky
It's a fund that also invested in companies like Twitter and Coinbase, many other DECA acorns. And so what to me is fascinating about this is that psychedelics used to be more of a French thing. And today even the most successful, experienced established funds in Silicon Valley or in the U.S., because this fund is based in New York are actually investing in some of these companies.

01:13:55:18 - 01:14:31:02
Matias Serebrinsky
Another example of a company that we we like a lot, it's called Motif Motif. And this company is in the field of neurostimulation. I did mention something, a technique called TMS transcranial magnetic stimulation. So it's it's also a different path. I'm similarly to psych. That is a very different paradigm of treating patients where instead of focusing on, you know, a drug, I'm kind of like taking something that's healing the symptoms.

01:14:31:04 - 01:15:00:21
Matias Serebrinsky
By doing neurostimulation, you're retraining your brain and, you know, brain circuits and different brain regions to kind of communicate in a different way. So it's a more passive kind of like learning than psychedelics. But still, what you know truly is, is this idea of retraining your brain and re establishing some connections in a way that wasn't happening before.

01:15:00:21 - 01:15:24:04
Matias Serebrinsky
So so again, this is a lot more focused on treating the root cause of some disease instead of the symptoms. And so what motif does is that they take this idea of TMS that you need to do it in the clinic and they bring it to the home so folks can get an intervention at home 10 minutes a day, 15 minutes a day.

01:15:24:06 - 01:15:59:16
Matias Serebrinsky
And that's all it takes to, you know, remit from things like treatment resistant depression. So a really interesting company. It's spun out of Rice University in Texas. And it's also a good example of many of portfolio companies. Over half of our portfolio companies are academic spinouts. So although some of the things that we're investing in May sound very kind of out there, most of them are truly and deeply grounded in deep, rigorous science.

01:15:59:18 - 01:16:04:03
Christian Soschner
Do you invest outside the United States?

01:16:04:05 - 01:16:33:19
Matias Serebrinsky
Yeah, absolutely. We we did invest in companies that are based in the UK and Germany. This was prior to the current fund. So our current fund, we have companies that are based in Australia and then all the other ones are based in the U.S. but prior to this fund, we made investments in companies based in Germany and the UK, and we're open to investments anywhere in the world.

01:16:33:23 - 01:16:59:03
Matias Serebrinsky
What I'll say that we used to invest in very much cutting edge technologies and so we're not kind of married to to all the investing in the US, but it just happens that a lot of the innovation, it's happening in the U.S., I hope more universities and more funding goes to doing in these areas outside the US. That would be ideal for me.

01:16:59:05 - 01:17:25:03
Christian Soschner
And we have great innovations in Europe, but actually a lack of investment capital. So this might be a call to action. For some reason, as our work and our scientific founders for over 17 years. And I think there are summit ideas in the pipeline that might be interesting for your fund transition from academia to startup. I'm curious to hear your opinion here in Europe.

01:17:25:05 - 01:17:55:02
Christian Soschner
Very often when I negotiate licensing deals or when tech transfer offices approach me, they have had years of a lot of activity, high upfront payments, and I recently had the Venture Connect initiative on my podcast from the Sun Institute, and they put out a model about they basically wants to have 2% royalties when some capital of an Internal revenue based cash streams come into the company.

01:17:55:04 - 01:18:06:00
Christian Soschner
What are the terms that you see in the United States when it comes to outlicensing patents and inventions from academia into startups?

01:18:06:02 - 01:18:34:09
Matias Serebrinsky
I mean, terms vary a lot. It depends on which institution is leading this. Some universities have this process very streamlined. Stanford, I would argue, is the best example of this, where they they incentivize their professors in one way or another to kind of like, you know, outline license or spin out companies. And so so they have kind of like they have reduced a lot of the friction there.

01:18:34:11 - 01:19:02:10
Matias Serebrinsky
And so it could it could look like, you know, a 2% kind of income revenue share. So like just getting, you know, the university getting 2% of revenue, it can look like a few points of participation in the cap table. So ownership in the company and and, you know, there are a lot of other creative like milestone based approaches.

01:19:02:12 - 01:19:29:12
Matias Serebrinsky
I think what what you know looking at our portfolio companies and the most successful cases have been when the person the professor that developed that invention right. Like owns that invention or kind of like you know it was their lab, the one that is the one that is actually the company, that negotiation process. That's a lot easier than if the professor was like, you know what?

01:19:29:14 - 01:20:05:00
Matias Serebrinsky
I'm not getting involved with the company. I just want to outlicensing something and I'm putting it in the hands of the, you know, t o the technology transfer office there. The the negotiations are a lot more complicated, but, you know, that is not the case in with our portfolio companies where companies like Dallas Motive Freedom Biosciences, all these companies, basically the inventor is the one that is either the CEO of the company or the CSO chief science officer of the company.

01:20:05:00 - 01:20:35:00
Matias Serebrinsky
And so so when it's like that, the TETO doesn't put that big of a fight in terms of like, you know, terms because there there would need to be conflicting not with like some, you know, stranger lawyer, you know, entrepreneur they're conflicting with their own kind of colleague who is also, you know, a member of that university. So so that is the model that we and that's a model that we usually back when the professor is.

01:20:35:19 - 01:20:54:01
Christian Soschner
So you're currently in California happening. It's still pretty amazing to be together for a phone call between Europe, Vienna, Austria and California, which you saw almost uninterrupted. You got frozen by the model you prefer when the professor is and then the screen froze. Maybe we can pick it up from there.

01:20:54:03 - 01:20:56:20
Matias Serebrinsky
Absolutely. So in a few words,

01:20:56:20 - 01:21:30:00
Speaker 1
the model we prefer is where the professor is deeply involved with the company. Ideally full time know best experiences we've had is when the professor is actually leaving academia altogether or taking a leave of absence. Asking examples of these are a company called Alto Neuroscience, which is developing precision medicine, drugs for for the treatment of mental health disorders.

01:21:30:02 - 01:21:46:10
Speaker 1
The professor there is Ahmed Atkin. He was a tenured professor at Stanford and he left to lead alto. And that just speaks to how much he believes in the company. Right. And so so that is an example of Ed, I

01:21:46:10 - 01:21:54:08
Matias Serebrinsky
motive as well, where Professor Jacob Robinson, out of Rice University, took a leave of absence to start motive.

01:21:54:08 - 01:22:12:11
Matias Serebrinsky
And so these highly technical, passionate professors that are taking a leap of faith and taking a lot of risk, which is not that common in academia in towards moving to a startup. Those are the models that tend to work best.

01:22:12:13 - 01:22:36:18
Christian Soschner
It's good to know. Mathias I talking to you and you have a lot of valuable information to share and I could ask you much, much more questions and what mean behavior talk and not a 2 hours of free hours. And I remember that you would like to come to your next meeting in 5 minutes. How would you how would you want to spend the last 5 minutes?

01:22:36:18 - 01:22:39:19
Christian Soschner
What is the question I should ask you?

01:22:40:03 - 01:23:14:12
Speaker 1
What is the question you should ask me? Well, let's let's let me pass the microphone back to you. I would love to hear from your side of why mental health is relevant for you, why, you know, for your listeners and maybe kind of what what are some takeaways that you got from these and maybe like things that like, you know, kind of ignited in your own imagination around this and maybe that's kind of like a way for us to discuss future engagements between and I.

01:23:14:24 - 01:23:45:18
Speaker 2
I think mental health is one of these areas that needs still a bit of groundwork here in Europe. It's mostly neglected, in my opinion. So when I walk around here in Vienna and talk to people without being a professional in that area, but from the basic knowledge I have, I say, okay, psychotherapy or going to a psychiatrist might help, but people are not aware of that yet.

01:23:45:20 - 01:24:16:08
Speaker 2
The limiting factor that I see it in here in Europe is when all those people come to a point in their life that is going on that would be worth treating, which is getting better and better and better every year. My opinion we have the bottleneck that you mentioned before, not enough person. And so one thing that we need to solve is having enough psycho psychotherapist psychiatrists finding artificial intelligence solutions and better treatments.

01:24:16:10 - 01:24:35:13
Speaker 2
How much people really need support. I think one in four is a good number. Do not scare people away. Like in an email. It basically everybody is nuts is probably a bit scary because then people get anxious and say, No, I'm not, I'm not. I one want

01:24:35:13 - 01:24:39:20
Christian Soschner
of those. But actually, as you said, I like the way you put it.

01:24:39:22 - 01:25:09:02
Christian Soschner
They're talking about quality of life, basically. You're not talking about crazy people, whereas talking about the severe cases where people are a danger for themselves or a danger for society, we talk about improving people's life, the quality of their lives. And I think the solutions that you mentioned will bring a lot of value to our society as a whole in future and the connections that we can have between us.

01:25:09:02 - 01:25:17:13
Christian Soschner
Since you are also interested to invest here in Europe and not only in the United States, I think Europe is a treasure trove of innovations,

01:25:17:13 - 01:25:37:08
Speaker 2
and I'm sure that one of the out of this was thinking about finding investors for their innovation will most likely reach out to you and know a lot of Titos and scientific founders will operating in the area that you mentioned.

01:25:37:10 - 01:25:49:17
Speaker 2
And this is my call to action to them. Just pick up the phone, go to LinkedIn, reach out to Mathias, and probably there is an investible object at one point in time.

01:25:49:23 - 01:26:12:10
Matias Serebrinsky
Absolutely. And I can attest to the potential of Europe in where you are in Austria. The Esty Institute of Science and Technology is an amazing place where there's really interesting innovation. And even some of the studies that I refer to today came out of

01:26:12:10 - 01:26:13:14
Speaker 1
Esty

01:26:13:16 - 01:26:14:23
Speaker 2
You know them already?

01:26:15:00 - 01:26:28:17
Speaker 1
Yeah, I know them quite well and their title. And they also have a fund that is very, very, very interested in how they're supporting companies in Europe, and we want to partner with them as well.

01:26:28:23 - 01:26:49:15
Christian Soschner
Now they're doing that amazing job. Ice-T is such a blessing for Europe. Think this was more f ing 12 years ago. One of the best moves of the Republic of Austria to start this institution. And Alexander Schwarz. Markus Von quote, The tooling is such a great job.

01:26:49:17 - 01:26:59:06
Matias Serebrinsky
Yes, I agree. I agree. It's been a pleasure. TENNANT With you. I look forward to our next conversation.

01:26:59:08 - 01:27:04:16
Christian Soschner
Me, too. Let's stay in touch and enjoy your day in California.

01:27:04:18 - 01:27:05:09
Matias Serebrinsky
Good one.

01:27:05:11 - 01:27:07:06
Christian Soschner
Susan. Bye bye.

01:27:07:06 - 01:27:18:01
Speaker 1
As we conclude our insightful session with Mathieu, set up Lynskey with Navigates the complex world of mental health innovation,

01:27:18:01 - 01:27:32:09
Speaker 1
we explored the groundbreaking role of psychedelic medicine, the intricate link between mental wellness and technology, and the visionary approach of Sam adventures in transforming mental health care.

01:27:32:09 - 01:27:44:11
Speaker 1
The key takeaway. A future where mental health treatment is not just about managing symptoms, but about holistic healing and profound transformation.

01:27:44:15 - 01:27:55:22
Speaker 1
Thank you for joining us in this critical dialog. Your presence and engagement make these conversations richer and more impactful.

01:27:55:22 - 01:28:04:10
Speaker 1
If Machias insights have sparked your interest. Your voice in sharing these revelations is invaluable

01:28:04:10 - 01:28:13:12
Speaker 1
for our listeners on platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. A five star review would be immensely appreciated.

01:28:13:14 - 01:28:21:20
Speaker 1
Your positive feedback not only uplifts our team, but also helps in guiding others to this vital content.

01:28:21:20 - 01:28:43:10
Speaker 1
Spreads the word by sharing this episode with peers, friends, and anyone in your network who would appreciate these deep dives into mental health innovation. Your support is crucial in bringing industry pioneers like Matthias to our show, ensuring we continue to offer enlightening and empowering content.

01:28:43:12 - 01:29:03:03
Speaker 1
Keep an ear out for upcoming episodes where we will continue to delve into the fascinating world of health care and technology. Until then, stay engaged, stay inspired and continue to be a part of the change in the world of mental health.


(Cont.) EP 120: Matias Serebrinsky: Shaping the Future of Mental Health: AI, Psychedelics, and Beyond
(Cont.) EP 120: Matias Serebrinsky: Shaping the Future of Mental Health: AI, Psychedelics, and Beyond
(Cont.) EP 120: Matias Serebrinsky: Shaping the Future of Mental Health: AI, Psychedelics, and Beyond