Eastra Health is the world’s first female-focused biotech delivering psychedelic derived medicines addressing PMS, menopause, and sexual enhancement. At PsyTech’s pitch event at our recent July summit, the judges selected Reagenics as the winner. While maintaining his title and bragging rights, Reagenics CEO and Co-founder Dr. Michael Kagan asked that the funds be awarded to Eastra Health, a fellow competitor at the competition, as he feels passionate about their work in women’s health.
Here’s more about Eastra Health.
PsyTech: How did you get into psychedelic research?
Eastra Health: Our Co-Founder, Jeremy Weate, has an interest in psychedelics going back to the late 1980s. From 2015 onwards, he began co-organizing a series of conferences on ibogaine (in Vienna, Porto, and London), became Executive Director of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, and helped found an ibogaine therapy center in Portugal in 2018. In 2020, he joined the board of Universal Ibogaine, which plans to take ibogaine through clinical trials in Canada.
PsyTech: How did you discover the lack of a female-focused enterprise in the psychedelic sector?
Eastra Health: Our Co-Founder, Pamela Hadfield, comes from the cannabis space where she started HelloMD, the first telehealth platform in the space. She noticed after her healthcare company saw hundreds of thousands of patients that women’s health needs were often overlooked and under-addressed. While cannabis helps millions of people, many women were still seeking advice and help for various conditions and were asking questions about psychedelics.
Pamela began to wonder if there might be a cross-section between women’s healthcare, psychedelics, and FemTech. She began to develop the premise for Eastra Health knowing that psychedelics hold amazing potential for a variety of health conditions beyond just PTSD and depression.
With that as a basis, we started Eastra Health. Since that time, we have added to our team a top-notch psychedelic neuroscientist and pharmacologist, Emeline Maillet. As the former scientific director of Eleusis, she too sees the potential in how psychedelics can further women’s healthcare and has done significant work to illustrate not only how psychedelics may positively impact women’s health but how psychedelics work differently between male and female biology.
PsyTech: What philosophy guides your quest to improve people’s lives through these special medicines?
Eastra Health: We believe in an innovative approach to drug discovery and a deep, holistic understanding of women’s health, biology, and needs.
The reality is, women have been overlooked, and some might say gaslighted, within modern healthcare. Whether that be their doctor saying “it’s in your head” or being excluded from clinical trials, women’s healthcare has been under-addressed or diminished within our modern health system.
Women see that their needs in support and solutions are not being met in modern healthcare. With a new emphasis in the media on the gender gap within medical research and drug discovery and the under-addressed health challenges women face, such as menopause, women are demanding new solutions. They expect, and rightfully so, that modern-day medicine level up.
Eastra Health is the world’s first female-focused biotech delivering psychedelic derived medicines addressing PMS, menopause, and sexual enhancement. At Eastra we take a patient-centric approach to drug development – we start from a deep understanding of a woman’s therapeutic indication before research helps us develops the appropriate psychedelic-derived medicine. We believe in the hope and promise psychedelics hold to deliver new and innovative solutions to health challenges women face.
PsyTech: What’s the next big step medicinal/therapeutic psychedelics needs to take to bring it to the next level?
Eastra Health: There are two big steps ahead of the psychedelic sector as a whole.
First, the precursor for mainstreaming psychedelic treatment centers (starting with psilocybin and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy) in the next couple of years has been the growth of ketamine clinics, of which there are now hundreds in the US and dozens overseas. While ketamine may provide short-term relief from symptoms of depression, it can be addicting and there are a wide variety of standards in various clinic settings. The next step up will therefore be to ensure that the clinical provision of psychedelic treatment is of a consistent standard and not a race to the bottom. In the US at least, there is a regulatory gap here (the FDA regulates molecules, not therapy centers) that needs to be addressed.
Second, there’s a trend to develop analogs of psychedelic compounds that involve a shorter and less threatening experience, allied with a parallel trend to develop non-experiential molecule adaptations. In both cases, the move towards a more convenient medicine will need to ensure that there is appropriate support (whether digital or in-person) to ensure that these future molecules can be genuinely therapeutically beneficial.