Appeal Board Upholds Compass Pathways’ Patent on Synthetic Psilocybin Formulation

A psychedelics company recently scored a major win after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) upheld a novel psychedelic patent that was under challenge. Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS), a mental healthcare company based in the United Kingdom, synthesized and patented a type of psilocybin called Comp 360.

In late 2021, a nonprofit called Freedom to Operate issued a legal challenge against the patents, arguing that Comp 360, which is also known as Polymorph A, was not a new and unique invention. The nonprofit stated that the synthetic psilocybin existed in the public domain and was not a novel invention that could be patented. Freedom to Operate used research that had been published in the “ActaCrystallographica Section C” journal as evidence that Comp 360 was not a new version of psilocybin, sending a petition to the PTAB to have the patent revoked.

However, after months of deliberations, the appeal board has upheld the patents, stating that the nonprofit didn’t provide enough convincing evidence and that the research Freedom to Operate provided did not line up with Comp 360. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced that the challenge against Compass Pathways’ patents would not go to trial. Furthermore, Freedom to Operate will not be allowed to appeal against the ruling.

Freedom to Operate’s founder and director Carey Turnbull states that although the organization isn’t happy with the board’s decision, it hopes that generic psilocybin manufacturers will be able to produce and distribute the psychedelic without violating Compass Pathway’s psilocybin patents.

The Freedom to Operate lawyer explains that since Compass Pathways only owns the “polymorph” shape of psilocybin through its patents, other manufacturers can develop and commercialize psilocybin as long as it isn’t in the Polymorph A shape.

On the other hand, Calyx Law patent lawyer Graham Pechenik says that he would have been quite disappointed with the rulings if he was the petitioner. He called it a complete win for Compass Pathways, stating that the UK-based mental healthcare company had won on every issue and that its position had not been weakened in the slightest. Companies will still struggle to make sure they don’t infringe upon the company’s psilocybin pathways, Pechenik noted.

Either way, Compass Pathways will now be able to move forward with plans involving Comp 360. The company recently announced that it would fund a study to see how Comp360 psilocybin can be used to treat autistic adults. This research could be instrumental in finding novel ways to treat symptoms of autism that cause distress.

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