Vice Report: New Filing Challenges Compass Pathways’ Infamous Patent on Synthetic Psilocybin

Here’s the introduction to the Vice piece

The non-profit Freedom to Operate used research from chemists and crystallographers to argue in a legal filing that Compass’ form of synthetic psilocybin is not a new invention.

In April, Carey Turnbull released a statement on behalf of his non-profit, Freedom to Operate (FTO), in which he described research underway to “establish what I know to be true: there can be no patent on psilocybin as a substance, nor on the known methods for making it or using it medically.”

What FTO has been working on all these months was finally made public, in the most rigorous challenge to Compass Pathways’ patents yet: a petition for post-grant review (PGR) filed today. Such petitions are filed by third parties to the Patent and Trademark Office within nine months of a granted patent. They specify which claims in a patent the filers think are invalid and why, and are supported by statements from experts, alongside examples of what has been published about or known before—“prior art.”

When psilocybin is made in a lab, it can be turned into a solid through crystallization. This process creates crystals that contain atoms or molecules that repeat through space, and settle into perfectly ordered patterns. But while psilocybin crystals are all made of the same psilocybin molecules, the molecules can arrange themselves in different ways to create a variety of three-dimensional crystalline forms, called polymorphs.

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