PRESS RELEASE: Pineapple Fund Offers $4 Million Matching Grant to MAPS
Cryptocurrency philanthropist hopes to inspire others to complete funding for Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD
Santa Cruz, Calif.—Today, the Pineapple Fund, founded by an anonymous cryptocurrency philanthropist, announced that it will match, dollar-for-dollar, the next $4 million in contributions to the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The purpose of the match, which expires on March 10, 2018, is to inspire others to complete funding for MAPS’ upcoming Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The Pineapple Fund will match all new donations to MAPS for Phase 3 trials in US dollars or cryptocurrency, up to $4 million in Bitcoin (BTC). If this funding challenge is met in gifts, grants, and multi-year pledges, MAPS will have raised sufficient funds to complete U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Phase 3 trials.*
The Pineapple Fund’s motivational match comes just one month after their December 14, 2017, gift of 59.89 BTC to MAPS, initially valued at $1 million, part of its plan to give away over $86 million in BTC to charities and causes around the world.
“PTSD is a severe condition that affects everyone from sexual assault survivors to military veterans,” wrote “Pine,” the Pineapple Fund’s founder. “Existing treatments have so much room for improvement, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has shown great promise. We’re offering the matching grant because we think the psychedelic and cryptocurrency communities can work together to finish funding Phase 3 clinical trials.”
The cryptocurrency community’s generosity has helped catapult MAPS’ fundraising efforts for Phase 3 clinical trials. On December 18, 2017, several days after announcing the Pineapple Fund’s first gift, MAPS received a second large donation of 51.54 Bitcoins from another anonymous donor. Then, on December 20, MAPS received 88,000 Lunyr (LUN) tokens worth over $769,000 from yet another anonymous donor.
MAPS estimates that Phase 3 clinical trials will cost $26 million. With $17.3 million already raised or pledged, MAPS still needs $8.7 million to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy legally available to millions of people suffering with PTSD. As a non-profit with no government funding for psychedelic research, MAPS relies on contributions from individuals, businesses, and foundations.
Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD will begin in Spring 2018, and will enroll 200-300 participants across 16 sites in the U.S., Canada, and Israel.
In August 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, acknowledging that it “may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies.” If MAPS receives the necessary funding and the trials show positive results, FDA approval is expected by 2021.
“The Pineapple Fund’s support is a dream come true,” says Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder and executive director of MAPS. “With no funding available for these trials from government agencies or major medical research foundations, legally available MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD will indeed be a gift to the world from the psychedelic science and cryptocurrency communities.”
MAPS was an early supporter of cryptocurrency donations, first accepting Bitcoin donations in December 2013. MAPS currently accepts cryptocurrency donations in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, and LUN.
Cryptocurrencies use encryption and digital technologies called blockchains to create an anonymous, distributed, peer-to-peer monetary system that is resistant to censorship and fraud, limiting the need for third parties and associated fees.
Founded in 1986, MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Since its founding, MAPS has raised over $47 million for psychedelic therapy and medical marijuana research and education. For more information, visit maps.org.
MAPS-sponsored clinical trials are conducted by the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of MAPS formed in 2015 for the special purpose of balancing social benefits with income from legal sales of MDMA, other psychedelics, and marijuana. For more information, visit mapsbcorp.com.
*EDIT: The words “U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)” have been added to this sentence to clarify that additional research will still be needed, with an additional cost, in Europe to obtain approval from the European Medicines Agency.