Our Approach

What’s in a name?

In 2015 we had a simple vision – to develop new, innovative medicinal products based on known compounds and state of the art science. We knew more what we weren’t than what we were. We weren’t deep pocketed or well known, which meant we were unencumbered by legacy pipelines or mismanaged expectations. We were pharma, but we were not ‘Big Pharma’ – so the name Small Pharma felt natural and consistent with our vision.

Our name has helped shape our values. We plan carefully to avoid overspending, and we remain focused on the science to guide our development. We work almost exclusively on small molecules as these tend to best fit our selection model. We raise the money we need, when we can, to support those projects that deserve attention but involve riskier capital than more mature pharma companies can commit. These values took us on the path to psychedelics, and ultimately drove a successful CAD$63m fundraising in the first half of 2021.

Sometimes the name Small Pharma can cause confusion with investors, who ask “why settle for Small Pharma when you could be so much more?”. Our view is that we have always remained compatible with big pharma, who are becoming increasingly reliant on biotech pipelines for future growth.

Staying true to our name does not obligate us to remain small. On the contrary, we have an ambitious plan to grow our pipeline beyond the current stable of four experimental medicines. For as long as there are unmet medical needs, there will be a place for Small Pharma.

Peter Rands, Co-Founder

Our model

Known compounds

We innovate on known compounds. This allows us to accelerate and reduce the risk of early drug development to ultimately speed up progress to trial potential medicines in human clinical trials.

Meaningful treatment potential

We focus on progressing therapies that have the potential to break through the limitations of conventional treatment and contribute to our future health and wellbeing.

Optimized therapies

Patients are at the heart of our programs ensuring new potential treatment paradigms are well accepted.

Robust IP

We take an IP-led approach to drug development allowing us to explore potential medicines neglected by others.

Our philosophy

We believe everyone should live with good mental health. Yet, since the discoveries of SSRIs 30 years ago, we have seen limited progress in identifying new approaches to the treatment of these complex and debilitating conditions.

Now, more than ever, we have the perfect chance to unlock better medicines, by taking unconventional and innovative approaches that give us the best chance of treating these conditions.

Backed by an experienced and passionate team and partnering with leading academic institutions, we’re driven by a common goal to progress new and transformative treatments for depression.

Small Pharma talks

According to the Royal College of Psychiatry, mental illness is likely to be the second pandemic.

Watch our Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Dr Carol Routledge, chat with Alastair Campbell as they discuss depression, DMT-assisted therapy and the future of treatments for mental health.

Our Journey

Founded in 2015, Small Pharma is on a mission to unlock the therapeutic potential of known chemical compounds and identify new medicines that could change the lives of millions.

2015 - Small Pharma founded

Small Pharma was founded by Peter Rands after spending his career as a patent lawyer. Small Pharma was built upon an ambition to accelerate access to new transformative treatments by progressing the development of known compounds with early signs to suggest positive clinical benefits, into clinically differentiated protectable new medicines.

2016 to 2018 - Ketamine focused R&D program

Exploration of a ketamine metabolite, 2R,6R-HNK, as an oral fast-acting antidepressant

In 2016, we initiated our first drug development project SPL801B. SPL801B is a patent protected solid oral drug product based on the non-psychedelic compound 2R,6R-hydroxynorketamine, a known active metabolite of ketamine. This development was based on recent advances in understanding the role played by 2R,6R-hydroxynorketamine in the antidepressant effects of ketamine, reported in academic literature.

Key progress:

  • Completion of a nonclinical, manufacture and IP data package
  • 1 patent granted (2020) and, 11 patent applications pending
2019 - Psychedelic R&D program initiated

Progression of DMT assisted therapy pipeline.


After exploring the landscape for alternative known compounds with the potential to offer an effective treatment for depression, we were excited by existing data that suggested the potential of the psychedelic, N,N-dimethyltryptamine, otherwise known as DMT, as a fast-acting antidepressant. 


Our preclinical progress through to 2020 lead to: 


  • The regulatory approval of Small Pharma’s first DMT focused clinical trial (SPL026)
  • The ability to re-engineer DMT to allow us to expand our pipeline of DMT based medicines
  • Securing a collaboration with experts from Center of Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London
2021 - Small Pharma goes public and DMT progresses into clinical trials

We’re really proud to have reached significant milestones in our company journey that allow us to accelerate towards our mission for developing new potential transformative treatments.

Our key milestones in 2021 to-date include:

  • R&D - Initiating the World’s first clinical trial of DMT Therapy for depression
  • Investment - C$63M raised Jan- Apr 21
  • Public Listing - On TSX-V under ‘DMT’

Work with us and help develop new solutions for the future

About Small Pharma

We’re a mental health drug development company that’s accelerating the development of fast acting antidepressant treatments using DMT based therapies. We’re dedicated to making a difference.

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