There’s just something different about Hawaii. Maybe it’s the ocean, maybe it’s the landscape, maybe it’s the people, but there is a reason that the native Hawaiian culture created the term “mana” to refer to a special kind of spiritual power and strength. It’s not about material possessions, but a life energy that flows through all people and things on the islands.
It’s that life force that David Nikzad and his team at EI.Ventures hope to tap into with their new lines of psychedelic and non-psychedelic wellness products. The company is working to obtain regulatory approval for the first U.S. approved psilocybin product targeting Major Depressive Disorder and organizing pre-clinical studies on bioavailability and toxicology. Until then, EI is launching a nutraceutical line to bring in near-term revenue through “non-psychoactive” products and exclusive formulations.
We recently spoke with Nikzad to learn more about the company’s long-term plans and the IP that he considers to be its “secret sauce” – a unique, plant-based psychedelic formulation called Psilly™ that’s based on traditional medicines created on the island of Maui.
Psychedelic Invest: Let’s start with your background. It sounds like you have some interesting experiences kicking around, but how’d you get into the psychedelics industry?
David Nikzad: I originally got into it about ten years ago when I moved to Maui to work on a tech incubator. My co-founder and I developed a health and wellness yoga retreat center in Maui called Lumeria. As part of that process with the gentleman who actually owned the property, we were going to do something like a Y Combinator where we were going to bring companies and startups there.
What happened through that process was we started meeting what you would call “kitchen chemists” or “bench chemists.” You know, on Maui, everybody is some “magic maker”; everybody does something. People go to Maui for healing purposes, and they also go there to be “with the mana.” Mana is the idea of the energy of Maui.
Because we get most of our stuff from the mainland, such as processed food, there are certain places on the island where people are growing their food and have a lot of heirloom seeds and other things. That’s where I started encountering what I would consider botanical psychoactive materials.
PI: So, what are you building there and why are you doing it this way?
DZ: A couple of desires. When I first encountered these gentlemen who were developing these products and had been working on them for about 50 years, literally the first thing they told me was that if we’re going to do this with you we want to give it all away for free.
You have to understand, these people that have developed products like Psilly and other things they’re living in upcountry Maui, off the radar. These are people living off the land literally, which resonated with me since I’ve always had an affinity for crowdfunding and the idea of power to the people.
So that’s part of it—the power to the people and allowing people to get involved with companies before they IPO.
Number two, we’re giving people access to what I believe is the most effective product in the industry and being able to offer it at a dollar a dose. Ever since my first journey, I’ve never swayed away from that. I’m going to do this, everybody’s going to be able to benefit from it. And when we think about Psilly, we think about dosing a billion people.
PI: Is the cost a significant hurdle for most people right now?
DZ: I mean, the regulations are really the main challenge. But I expect Oregon and Canada to open up in the next 24 months, and we already have the partnerships we need in place. I do see in the next 24 months, Psilly being available in those two jurisdictions. And if it becomes 36 months or 48 months, we can adjust. Our timeline is five years. We don’t want to be the first company to go out into the space. We want to be the most effective company.
We’ve looked at many different proposals that have been put out to Health Canada and Oregon, and I just don’t see anybody paying $800 or $10,000 a therapy session. It’s not really real to me. And the reality is that we’ve spoken to insurance providers consultants in the insurance industry, and they tell us it will be five to 10 years before insurance starts paying for these therapies. So, I don’t see anything like this coming to market as something that’s going to be covered by insurance for a very long time.
If you look at the companies that have gone public in the space, many will be consolidated into bigger companies or will run out of money. We know that because they are looking for acquisition offers right now. Many people have approached us to buy our company, and it’s never even come into our mind to do that. That’s not who we are. We didn’t come this far not to see this vision fully through.
PI: What psychedelic products are you building?
DZ: Right now, we’re working on three main compounds – Psilly, MDMA, and DMT. But we literally have told all of our investors that if we make no money off of them, that’s OK because we also have a dozen nutraceutical products that will come to market in the first quarter of next year. The money that we will make off of fully legal nutraceuticals will subsidize those other medicines over the next five to 10 years.
PI: For your nutraceuticals line, what are we talking about there?
DZ: We have three nutraceuticals that we’re going to bring to market. One is called Brain Mana, and it’s basically a mirrored version of Psilly without any psychoactive compounds in it. That’s the best way I can describe it. It has seven different types of mushrooms in it, all whole plant products. We use no isolates in any of our products.
The other product is called Happy Sexy, which I would call a Viagra analog that will enhance sexuality and intimacy.
The third one is an Adderall alternative. Adderall is a $40 billion a year business, and we have a product that is an analog to it that is fully legal and made out of botanicals. I came from a background of being on a hundred milligrams of Adderall a day, so I understand what that’s like.
We’ve formulated a fully legal product that will give what I call that euphoric jitter to the user without being so addictive.
Those three will all be available next year.
PI: What is the secret sauce when it comes to Psilly versus what’s out there right now?
DZ: Our secret sauce is obviously Hawaii. If you study or know much about quantum chemistry, there’s this idea around putting words on water which changes the molecular frequency. That’s the best way I could describe Psilly. We do everything we can with all the products that we make to infuse good energy in them, and beyond that, everything that we are using for those products is natural. Nothing is synthetic. The best way to describe it is the difference between fresh squeezed orange juice versus Tropicana. I’m going to tell you, most people you talk to, even my children, want fresh-squeezed orange juice.
PI: And your business model includes some built-in differentiators?
DZ: We are moving toward having a Drug Master File (DMF) with the FDA, which will put us above what we call a patent status. The DMF will allow us to partner with other companies and governments to open-source our product. What’s crazy about it is that no other company in the space has a DMF. It’s not just because they don’t know about it, but because they’ve had a lot of money coming in very quickly. They have been able to jump ahead without focusing too much on these regulatory processes and are doing pretty well so far without it.
The problem with most psychedelic investors is that, unless you’re talking to a true biotech investor, you have many people who are ignorant about the industry and are believing anything these companies put out there. I haven’t seen one patent for any molecule or compound that has any type of anecdotal evidence. I think about that when I read materials from these companies — how much time have they spent looking into what people are really doing? That’s why I say nothing in this industry is really real yet.
You have a lot of companies breaking all the rules, but the problem is that nothing happens until the normal person gets burned. It’s like crypto. I’ve stayed away from all of those companies because I don’t want to get into trouble. We do everything in full compliance.