Andromeda Entertainment: Can Digital Therapeutics Save the World?

I have just returned from a full operating system reboot of heart and mind. My travels took me through national parks, sacred sites, and underground alchemy labs in the Czech Republic and Croatia. I gave myself a gift most of us take for granted – space. Space to reflect on my mission, space to simplify my goals, space to truly give myself a mental fast. We detox the body, we fast for longevity, so why not turn those practices inwards? Not through the general upkeep of a 15 minute meditation, but a full 15 day adventure, without business books or podcasts to keep the “productivity” wheels turning, just your own mindful presence and a small journal to record your insights. I had the space to consider a profound element of my mission. In 2015, the United Nations created a list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The theory being, in order to start turning the Titanic of our Earth ship away from the iceberg of destruction, we must hit these goals by 2030. We are now six years past the declaration, and I can’t help but ask, what progress have we made thus far and why haven’t we been galvanized to support these changes at scale? Where I feel that I play the biggest part, my global mission, is directly aligned with the the SDG of Mental Health. I see it as one of the most, if not the most, critically important global issues. It is the foundational layer of humanities impulses, decision making, social lives, and overall happiness. A root cause for the misguidance and destruction in the overwhelming variety of humanity’s wrong doings. If mental health was solved tomorrow, how fast would the rest of the SDG’s course correct?  In comes digital therapeutics and transformative entertainment in the realms of VR and gaming. Why? Because Yoga, meditation, talk therapy, eating healthy and biohacking are usually not entertaining, or easy. Of course, all these modalities feel good when you’re done, but the process itself can be extremely uncomfortable, especially for beginners, and requires a great deal of discipline. Why are fast food, reality television and pharmaceuticals the baseline for western society? Because most people prioritize the expense of their time via one, if not both, of these categories: entertainment and ease of use. So I want to share with you my exploration of the rise of digital therapeutics. As you all know by now, my company Andromeda Entertainment, has created a spin-off venture. Entheo Digital is focused on creating entertaining experiences that improve your mental health as you go. Our mission is to impact the planet through accessibility and joy, at scale. Taking users from passive observer to active participant in the hero’s journey of their lives. Welcome to the Benevolent Future. Question I have been Pondering How will Digital Therapeutics optimize healthcare? There is a fascinating development happening in the Mental Health industry. Finally, a much needed shift in perspective has been occurring. Imagine a doctor’s office in 1921, a patient walks in loudly complaining about the severe chest pains they are experiencing. The doctor would simply ask some questions, listen to their heartbeat, prescribe the same rudimentary medicine they’d give to anyone with the same symptoms, and send them on their way.  Today, someone visits a doctors office, they get referred to a specialist, wait for lab reports, and undergo diagnostic testing to narrow down the multitude of possible causes for the distress. What many do not know, is that the psychiatric industry has not changed much in the last 100 years. If you were to walk into a doctors office today complaining about depression, anxiety, mood swings, etc, they would enlist 20 minute assessment questionnaire that was used a century ago. Almost exactly the same process, down to the language doctors use on the questionnaire.  They would likely then prescribe a band-aid type drug treatment, and perhaps referring the patient to a therapist. This therapist will have very little to work off of, including no biometric data or measurable behavioral reports outside what the patient conveys as truth. Which increases the likelihood that they utilize an inappropriate method for the patient’s needs, run around searching for the right method, suggest pharmaceuticals with a plethora of side effects, and perhaps throw in some talk therapy that could take years to be successful, if it is at all. Clearly this inadequacy is reflected in the rise of opioid addiction, sleeping pills, and the mounting generations of familial cycles of depression and anxiety. Story after story, shocking statistic after shocking statistic. Why has this not been corrected? Today, we are at a tipping point for wellness technology in the healthcare space. Adoption of frameworks to validate, distribute, and integrate into the existing healthcare system are well underway. The global pressure is massive, both practitioners and patients are seeking solutions for more reliable treatments in mental health care. Tools are now being developed within emerging industries. Psychedelic therapy, digital therapeutics, and precision psychiatry (making treatments more individualized based on lifestyle, genetics, and analytics by artificial intelligence) are all happening simultaneously. I believe this can save the world. Digital Therapeutics (Dtx)- Scientifically validated digital health technologies In the US and Europe, there has been growing interest in new models of healthcare such as integrated care and value-based healthcare. Many of the challenges of our current healthcare system stem from a lack of interoperability. “Silos” of providers don’t share information, preventing a comprehensive, patient-centered and holistic approach to healthcare. A siloed healthcare system results in greatly inflated costs, delays in critical care interventions, poorly coordinated delivery, and a lack of preventative care. ​There is hope! Digital health technology could turn the long-awaited dream of integrated care and value-based healthcare into a reality. Digital therapeutics will play a role in integrated care: capturing patient data, anticipating patient needs, and shared decision-making. Technology, such as deep machine learning, promises to provide population-level analytics supporting value-based healthcare, while VR enables “smart care” and patient-specific […]

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How Digital Therapeutics Are Redefining Psychedelic Industry

T2News publishes articles from outside contributors, whose opinions don’t necessarily reflect our own. This article was originally published in the Andromeda Entertainment Newsletter.  It is clear we are moving towards the next great awakening. Industries like biotech, education, decentralized finance, and AI are rewriting the future of our species. Yes, this is exciting, and we must also consider where society is, as a whole. Depression, obesity, addiction, and anxiety are becoming more prevalent in our lives, showing that we, humanity as a species, are sick. With a sick society creating other-worldly, highly-advanced technologies, it is safe to assume the tech will reflect our collective experience. What would happen if Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson all stopped trying to explore the outer reaches of space, and reversed that idea to explore the inner space of our minds? What if, instead of looking outside ourselves for adventure and answers to save the world, they focused their attention on looking inside, and conquering the mental health crisis at the root of many of the problems we face today? Let’s take a closer look at two of my favorite emerging fields doing just that. Question I Have Been Pondering How is the psychedelic industry growing and where do digital therapeutics fit in? To better answer this question, let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of where the Psychedelic Industry is currently, and where it’s going. We recently partnered with Microdose.buzz which has 74 companies with active clinics in the US and Canada. Some, like Field Trip, have multiple facilities (7 and counting). These clinics are primarily focused on Ketamine treatment, with most laying the groundwork in anticipation of MDMA and psilocybin becoming legal for therapeutic use, in the near future. This of course does not include individual therapists providing underground services, of which there are many. These are typically licensed doctors and psychologists who after their own psychedelic breakthroughs, created individualized protocols to serve these medicines with desirable set and setting for patients. California, Denver, Austin, Miami, New York and other major cities are availed with this style of practitioner. They are usually highly qualified and offer psychedelic therapy as a full time service or a part time weekend offering for their communities. So, what does the pricing look like for the above-board clinics? ​Alchemy Wellness, for example, charges $125 for a consultation, $495 for a mood disorder session (including 50 minute treatment with a pre-assessment and post recovery period) or $1350 for a chronic pain syndrome (which includes a four hour treatment). While other companies like Field Trip Health, go for a more high-end approach. Their starting package of $2400 including two ketamine treatments. Average price service is $5900 for a package that includes four Ketamine treatments plus a variety of exploratory and integrative consultations. One of the top clinics in San Francisco, Polaris Insight, has their pricing structure clearly laid out here. Most of the industry is still focused on research, signing people up for early access, preparing for the next wave of psychedelic medicines, legalization, and all-encompassing facilities. Some of these facilities are evolving into community hubs and biohacking labs to complement the treatment and integration rooms they have for their patients.​ Going Remote Individual Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy is on the rise as COVID stopped most therapists from bringing patients into their clinics. What does this mean? Patients now have the option to get a prescription written for Ketamine, pick it up at a pharmacy, drive home and jump on a call with their therapist. After the discovery and intake process patients are directed to create their own therapeutic space. They then self-administer the dose (typically as a sublingual lozenge), put on a blindfold, turn on some recommended music, and settle in. The Polaris website also has a great page explaining this process. In some cases, patients can even have the psychedelic delivered to their door so they don’t need to leave their house. Companies are now building out solutions where a licensed physician can actually administer intravenously, supported by their “Ketamine truck” parked right outside of the patient’s house!​ The Rise of Publicly Traded Psychedelic Companies Could this be the next big “Cannabis-type” boom?​ As of March 30th, 2021 here are the most valuable publicly traded psychedelic companies and their current valuations: Compass Pathways 1.29 B Mind Medicine 984.9 M Seelos Therapeutics 332.6 M Field Trip 236.1 M Numinus 198.7 M Revive 149.6 M Empower Clinics 145.2 M Cybin 141.6 M Neomind Biosciences 108.1 M Why this is important: Last year (March 30, 2020) the total market cap for psychedelic companies was only $757,778,577 This year (March 30, 2021) it is up to $4,385,595,347 The Total market cap of new psychedelic companies that have IPO’d in the last year is up to 3.1 Billion. This number will only grow, in the US and Canada, decriminalization of psilocybin is well under way. Oakland, Santa Cruz, Denver, Ann Arbor, and all of Washington DC – the list continues to grow, including full legalization of therapeutic psilocybin in Oregon. Coupled that with Phase 3 FDA trials for therapeutic MDMA use and the wide spread adoption of legal therapeutic ketamine in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces and it is clear to see, the wave is just beginning to build along the horizon. ​How do digital therapeutics fit in? These companies are developing entire ecosystems. There are now psychedelic therapy training programs, media hubs, in-person clinics, tracking software, unique pre/during/post session protocols, chemistry labs for formulating new psychedelics (targeting a shorter duration, for example) and the development and acquisition of Digital Therapeutics. Adam Gazzaley recently gave his second interview on Tim Ferriss’ podcast sharing a well-rounded perspective of where the industry is. Adam is a pioneer in the field, and is moving the industry forward. Not only through his own research and products, but also through his firm Jazz Ventures. They have supported dozens of mission-aligned tech companies working to optimize mental health and human performance. The best part is, Tim […]

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What will happen as Blockchain and XR combine forces

The mission within this article, as with my personal and professional life, is to relieve human suffering. I believe this is possible in our lifetime, that human consciousness can ascend to a point where we can heal this planet and all beings that inhabit it. We all know the clock is ticking and it’s clear that we are hitting a crescendo in humanities voyage. I have always been an optimist. I have seen the power of human awakening, in my personal journey and the journey of others, I believe it is possible for this to happen at mass scale and that NOW is the time to speed this collective train up! I also see VR as the next medium. This is the “Motion Picture” technology of our generation, a technological jump so massive that up until this point we have all just been listening to the metaphorical radio. We are taking the static 2D, non-interactive, passive world and turning it into an immersive simulation. Like any technology, the ethos is not inherently good or evil, it is entirely dependent upon its controllers. The motion picture has been used as a tool for cultural destruction; turning multiple generations into literal couch potatoes, binge watching tv shows, new’s feeds, and endless sports games. On the other hand it has also been used to create beautiful, transformational experiences. You can learn anything on the planet, watch the most inspirational speakers, discover enlightening ideas, and blossom into an entirely new person. I am in this industry because technology is exponentially growing, and as of now, 99.9% of content is made to distract and subdue us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the power to get in on the ground floor of the next “ultimate distraction” and produce content that brings you closer to your true essence instead of pulling you away from it. This is our chance to speed up the train. This can manifest in many ways. Empathy-generating content, community creation, digital therapeutics, biofeedback and neurofeedback experience, or simply journeys into inspiring lands. The key is that it’s enjoyable. These experiences are not made to feel like you’re eating your digital vegetables, they are meant to taste delicious. A delight to consume with a message that impacts the masses in an extremely positive way. As I always say “lets upgrade the real-world avatar that is you.” Question I Have Been Pondering What will happen as Blockchain and XR combine forces? The latest trend in the rise of the Metaverse is Blockchain accelerating along with VR. I was inspired by this article that was sent to me a few weeks ago: How Can Blockchain Accelerate the Virtual Reality Revolution? – showcasing the future of spending your free time in virtual worlds with your closest friends and actually making a living doing so. A few companies like Victoria VR and Decentraland are building worlds for just that purpose.. I was speaking with a good friend Shuang, better known in the digital world as SwanVR. She showed me what a VR NFT art gallery can look like in Cryptovoxels, described as, “a virtual world powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Players can buy land and build stores and art galleries. Editing tools, avatars and text chat are built in.”   A few things really get me excited about this space: The ability to buy and sell virtual land. Decentraland’s main value proposition is “Explore LANDs owned by users to experience incredible scenes and structures…Buy and sell LAND, Estates, Avatar wearables and names in the Decentraland Marketplace” What does this mean for the future of the metaverse? Building real-estate as a digital asset that evolves and grows with the community and the technology itself. In my mind, this feels comparable to an opportunity to buy oceanfront property in New York City back in the 17th century! Creating virtual, spatialized communities that can build and scale. The Bit Country website puts it simply “Start your world, rule your bit country and economy […] Start your own bit country and community. Attract more people to join using the rules and policies you can set by your will. Grow your bit country and monetize your community in multiple ways without any intermediaries.” It is one thing to build a Facebook group or a Mighty Network, it is another thing to build a virtual city for your community to populate and build businesses within. Real estate meets content creators, meets social hangout. Are Zillow, YouTube, and Clubhouse having a baby? NFT’s have value beyond a storage of assets. In Victoria VR “The NFTs are not just rare decorations, but there are NFTs that will actually have a real use case, or that will bring you highly epic advantages (gives you superpowers or produce more VR tokens for you). You can also modify your assets (NFTs), combine them, or even create your own assets (NFTs)!”  Disclaimer- I am far from a blockchain expert, and just now wrapping my head around NFT’s as honestly anything in finance bores me to tears. BUT, it is important to understand the deep impact this will have on the XR community and to leverage this knowledge as we work towards a brighter future. Projects I Have My Eyes On This Month I am focusing on the rise of VR as the extension of reality that we all know from Science Fiction. The Matrix Upload isn’t here yet, but these tools will bring us a few steps closer. The future of Brain-Computer Interface is cooler than we think! Valve, OpenBCI & Tobii to Launch VR Brain-computer Interface ‘Galea’ in Early 2022   Valve plans to stay on the cutting edge of immersive entertainment. Co-founder Gabe Newell states “If you’re a software developer in 2022 who doesn’t have one of these in your test lab, you’re making a silly mistake […] Software developers for interactive experiences — you’ll be absolutely using one of these modified VR head straps to be doing that routinely — simply […]

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