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Nikean Foundation announces $5 million gift to create a Psychedelic Psychotherapy Research Centre at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN)

·4-min read

The Nikean Psychedelic Psychotherapy Research Centre will anchor Canada’s thriving psychedelic innovation and academic research hub

Toronto, Ontario, Sept. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Nikean Foundation (Nikean), a Toronto-based charitable foundation committed to the promotion of research and education in support of the beneficial use of psychedelic medicines, has announced a $5 million transformational gift today in support of psychedelic psychotherapy at the University Health Network (UHN). The gift is the largest ever donation in support of psychedelic science and research in Canada.

The Nikean Foundation, founded in 2019 by Sanjay Singhal – a Canadian tech entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for founding and selling Audiobooks.com, was inspired by his personal experiences with navigating mental health challenges. Singhal’s entrepreneurial drive and passion for philanthropy set him on a course to discover better healing tools to treat mental health disorders, such as anorexia, depression, addiction, end-of-life anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Today, Nikean funds research trials in Canada, the US, the UK, and Spain.

In 2020, as the psychedelic “renaissance” began to take shape in Canada, Singhal made a commitment to align Nikean’s resources with UHN, home to Canada’s largest medical psychiatry team led by Dr. Susan Abbey, Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Centre for Mental Health at UHN.

In a prepared statement, Singhal expressed his gratitude to UHN leadership and is now asking other philanthropists to join him on this exciting venture.

UHN’s reputation as a world leader in mental health research, combined with their team of experts and specialists committed to the exploration of new evidence-based psychedelic therapies, will help bridge our understanding of psychedelic medicines and the positive impact they have on mental health.

We have already partnered with the world’s leading Open Science research organizations, including Imperial College (London), the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and Usona Institute, to develop treatments using Psilocybin, MDMA, and 5-MeO-DMT. Naturally, we are excited to help bridge those partnerships to accelerate UHN’s research program.

Consistent with an Open Science approach, collaborative efforts may include providing data, access to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) drugs, and developing curriculum and programs for facilitator training, in addition to Nikean’s $5 million donation.

By accepting this gift, UHN is sending a powerful message that Canada is serious about psychedelic research and tackling the existential mental health crisis affecting the masses. We owe it to this generation and the next to begin the healing process, so I encourage others to join Nikean in this significant endeavour.”

Affiliated with UHN’s Centre for Mental Health, the new Nikean Psychedelic Psychotherapy Research Centre will anchor Canada’s thriving psychedelic innovation and academic research hub, leading to revolutionary advances in how Canada treats mental illness and end-of-life distress.

The Centre will be led by director Dr. Susan Abbey, Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Centre for Mental Health at UHN and a world expert in mindfulness research, and associate director Dr. Emma Hapke, who has been a Principal Investigator with MAPS and has expertise in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and research.

Nikean’s $5 million gift has been earmarked to support the Centre’s establishment and initial research projects. In addition, an external $250,000 donation has been provided to build and run the Education and Training program; however, further philanthropic funding is still needed to sustain the Centre long-term and fund its innovative research.

Donors interested in joining this landmark project should contact Rebekah Valenti, Campaign Director, Major Gifts with the UHN Foundation at 416-319-4804 or rebekah.valenti@uhn.ca.

The Centre will hold six critical values – Humanity, Collaboration, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Interconnectedness and be guided by objectives centred on Research, Education and Training, and in the future Clinical Care. Research projects proposed under each objective have been listed as an addendum to this notice.

Nikean will celebrate the announcement at a formal event with UHN leadership and other dignitaries on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at Marked Restaurant located in Toronto, Ontario. Media are invited to attend (COVID spacing conditions apply). To RSVP for the event or to interview Mr. Singhal via telephone or online, please contact:

Michael Kydd, Media Relations

michael@kyddergroup.com

(902) 880 6121

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Vision for the Nikean Psychedelic Psychotherapy Research Centre:

The vision for the Nikean Psychedelic Psychotherapy Research Centre is to create an academic and innovation hub. The Centre plans to harness the potential of psychedelic medicine to provide transformative care to patients, pioneer training in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and conduct high-quality research that advances the field.

Nikean Psychedelic Psychotherapy Research Centre objectives:

1. Research:

  • Psilocybin-Assisted Existential, Attachment and Relational (PEARL) Therapy for End-of-Life Distress in Patients with Advanced Cancer;

  • Psilocybin-Assisted Existential, Attachment and Relational (PEARL) Therapy for Caregivers;

  • Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder Body Dysmorphic Disorder;

  • Experiential Training in Therapists Learning Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy;

  • 5-MeO-DMT for PTSD; and,

  • Integration Project.

2. Education and Training:

  • Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy;

  • Didactic component;

  • Experiential component; and,

  • Apprenticeship.

3. Future Clinical Care: For future, once regulated through Health Canada.

  • Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: As psychedelic medicines become more accessible and regulated through Health Canada, the Nikean Centre will begin treating patients using the psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy model. These treatments will include, but will not be limited to:

    • MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in collaboration with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS);

    • Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for end-of-life distress;

    • Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant depression; and,

    • Integration support.

  • In addition, the Centre will also collect safety and quality improvement data to inform future clinical programming. An early priority will be to treat underserved populations who are underrepresented in clinical trials. These groups could include but are not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, refugees and those coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

About Nikean Foundation:

We believe psychedelic science can help drive social and systematic change as part of a transformational approach to managing mental health care. We want to empower people to begin to heal themselves and see a future where these medicines can be used alongside other modalities to support mental health and addiction recovery.

Nikean Foundation devotes its resources to programs that advance psychedelic science in hopes that we can build better tools for mental health care. We commit to working with open science partners to promote research and education in support of the beneficial use of psychedelics.

Attachments

CONTACT: Amanda Lockington Marigold Marketing & PR 18776815541 amanda@marigoldpr.com


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