In an September 3, 2020 press release on Psilocybin Alpha, Aion Therapeutics reported that it was “pleased to announce that the Company has filed five patent applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) pertaining to new treatments combining healing compounds in medical cannabis with healing compounds from mushrooms (edible and psychedelic), and other natural plants known for their medicinal properties.”
The press release also clarified that these are provisional patent applications. “Aion Therapeutic’s intellectual property counsel, Pinnacle IP Strategies LLC (“Pinnacle“), drafted and will prosecute the patent applications. According to Pinnacle, Aion Therapeutic’s provisional patent filings in the U.S. will provide Aion Therapeutic a right of priority under the Paris Convention to pursue patent protection to Jamaica, as well as, priority for over 170 countries under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (“PCT“). Establishing an effective filing date for Aion Therapeutic’s inventions in the U.S. preserves that priority date – with up to one year to pursue a subsequent filing in any country that is a party to those agreements.”
In a previous post about How to Evaluate Psychedelic Patents, we distinguished between issued patents, pending patent applications, and provisional patent applications. The later two have not been issued/granted and must first be examined in order to see if the claimed invention is both (1) New and (2) Non-obvious in view of the prior art. (Prior art means anything published before the application’s priority date, which in Aion’s case appears to be sometime in the summer of 2020.
In the case of Aion Therapeutics, it is unclear how the company will overcome the prior art issued associated with other (much earlier filed) patent applications that are directed to (what appears to be) very similar subject matter. For example, this patent application by inventors Murat KÜÇÜKSEN and Neset KÜÇÜKSEN shows up on Google Patents by searching for Psilocybin + Cannabinoid. The application has a priority date of January 18, 2017 and “relates to the use of one or more cannabinoids and/or terpenes in combination with psilocybin and/or psilocin for use in the prevention or treatment of psychological or brain disorders. Preferably the one or more cannabinoids are taken from the group cannabidiol (CBD); cannabidiolic acid (CBDA); tetrahydrocannbidivarin (THCV); tetrahydrocannbidivarinin acid (THCVA); cannabichromene (CBC); cannabichromenic acid (CBCA); cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).”
One possibility is that the Aion technology does not use psilocybin and/or psilocin but relies on other “psychedelic” components from mushrooms. (The above mentioned KÜÇÜKSEN application is limited to combinations that include psilocybin and/or psilocin with the cannabinoid(s).). Another possibility is that the Aion technology avoids the use of the cannabinoids listed above as part of the KÜÇÜKSEN application.
The idea of combining a psilocybin derivative with a cannabinoid does have tremendous promise because of the potential for harnessing the Entourage Effect and making formulations that are better than single active ingredients (see, e.g., Compass Pathways use of pure psilocybin without the other synergistic actives in magic mushrooms). But, can Aion pursue this technology without running into competing IP, like the KÜÇÜKSEN application? Moving forward, it will be interesting to learn more about Aion’s patent portfolio, especially what makes it “novel” as we watch the situation develop.