The philanthropic group led by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and his wife, Alexandra, is donating millions of dollars toward the advancement of research into psychedelic drugs.
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has offered a $5 million grant to MAPS, or the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies, a nonprofit dedicated to researching the potential of psychedelic drugs for medical use.
The grant will assist “with vital mission support as it enters the final stages of the drug development process for MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD,” MAPS said on Wednesday in a press release.
“We extend tremendous gratitude to the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for their unwavering support in helping us bring MDMA-assisted therapy through the pipeline and toward potential FDA approval. Our hearts are uplifted by their commitment to equitable access—a crucial element for us to try to bring healing for all,” said Rick Doblin, the founder and president of MAPS.
MAPS said that it “plans to submit the New Drug Application for MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD to the FDA later this year.”
“If the treatment is approved by the FDA, advocates and companies will work to integrate approved therapy into the healthcare system. However, not unlike many other mental healthcare treatments and therapies, those who are prescribed the treatment and are without insurance coverage, or the means to pay out-of-pocket costs, may face financial burdens to access the therapy,” the organization said in Wednesday’s announcement. “This innovative grant not only supports MAPS’ mission today, but also will establish the foundation of a financial assistance program for patients if MDMA- and other psychedelic-assisted therapies are approved by the FDA.”
“Millions of Americans, including our veterans and first responders, suffer from PTSD and other mental health conditions that affect their quality of life. Psychedelic compounds represent a new opportunity to address these often treatment-resistant conditions and bring hope to patients,” said Alexandra Cohen.
Steve Cohen made his fortune as a hedge fund manager; according to Forbes, he is worth an estimated $17.5 billion. In 2020, he completed his $2.4 billion purchase of the Mets.
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation was founded in 2001 and has “given $741.7 million in gifts to organizations that improve children’s healthcare and education, serve the underserved, support the arts, protect the environment, and further Lyme and tickborne disease research,” according to the official website.
The foundation has also demonstrated a strong commitment to the promotion of psychedelic therapy, calling itself “one of the largest private funders of psychedelic research in the country.”
According to its website, the foundation has given nearly $19 million toward “psychedelic projects.” The foundation says that it has “committed over $10 million of philanthropic support to MAPS’ mission, including MAPS-sponsored clinical research of MDMA-assisted therapy.”
In 2021, the foundation gave $2.1 million to Mount Sinai in New York “to help fund a large study comparing two and three sessions of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
“The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has been at the forefront of philanthropic giving for the benefit of our combat veterans. This generous gift will allow us to dedicate our efforts to studying the effect of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in combat veterans with PTSD,” Rachel Yehuda, the director of Mount Sinai’s Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research, said at the time. “We are extremely grateful for their support of our mission to revolutionize the treatment of trauma survivors with psychedelic psychotherapy and better understand the mechanisms of resilience and recovery from trauma.”