Our Philosophy

What’s in a name?

In 2015 we had a simple vision – to develop new, innovative treatments 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 not encumbered 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 patient needs, there will be a place for Small Pharma.


Our model

Agile drug development

We we use a virtual pharmaceutical model, outsourcing manufacturing and clinical development to maximize efficiency.

Known compounds

We innovate on known compounds to reduce the up front cost and risk associated with drug discovery.

Robust IP protection

We have a robust and multi-layered IP program to protect our innovation.

Our philosophy

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

Now, more than ever, we have the chance to unlock better treatments, by taking a radically different approach that targets the root cause of mental health conditions and gives 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.

Our journey

Small Pharma’s founding vision back in 2015 remains the same today – to accelerate patient access to transformative new treatments in areas of critical unmet need.

2015 - Small Pharma founded

Peter Rands founded Small Pharma with a vision to accelerate patient access to transformative new treatments. The ambition was to progress the development of known compounds, with early signals of positive clinical benefits, into differentiated and protectable new treatments that could change the lives of millions.

2016 - Focus on depression

In 2016 we decided to focus on depression as our critical area of unmet need. We commenced a development program SPL801B, a patent protected solid oral drug product, based on the non-psychedelic compound 2R,6R-hydroxynorketamine, a known active metabolite of ketamine. This was based on advances in understanding the role played by 2R,6R-hydroxynorketamine in the antidepressant effects of ketamine. A nonclinical, manufacture and IP data package was completed.

2019 - Psychedelic R&D program initiated

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.

2021 - Public listing and clinical trials launch

In 2021 we listed on the TSX.V in Canada under 'DMT' and achieved a number of significant milestones, including raising C$63m to support our programs. Additionally, we launched SPL026 for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder into the clinic and completed our Phase I trial. We were awarded an ILAP Innovation Passport designation from the UK regulator, the MHRA, for this program. The ILAP aims to accelerate the time to market of SPL026, facilitating patient access to this treatment.

2022 - Portfolio expansion

We completed dosing in the Phase IIa proof-of-concept trial of IV SPL026, launched a new SSRI Drug Interaction study into the clinic and initiated two additional trials. Our executive, clinical and commercial teams continued to expand in line with company growth. Significant progress made across our IP portfolio with the number of granted patents growing three-fold this year alone. 

About Small Pharma

We’re a biotechnology company researching and developing short-acting psychedelics with supportive therapy for mental health conditions.

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