Pittsburgh-based preclinical biotech startup Mindstate Design Labs has a unique framework to design psychedelic compounds using what they call the “primer probe method.” This method involves combining a known psychedelic with a non-psychedelic compound. Mindstate raised an $11.5M seed round. The company was co-founded by Dillan Dinardo and Thomas Ray beginning of 2022.

“The most important thing to understand is that the existing psychedelic states that we’re familiar with, the effects that are possible with drugs that already exist, are likely only a small fraction of the altered states of consciousness that are possible,” DiNardo told Business Insider.



Tom Ray has been studying psychedelics for 5o years; he is an evolutionary biologist and has a doctorate in Tropical Plant Ecology from Harvard University. He was friends with Alexander Shulgin, the prolific psychedelic chemist, who rediscovered MDMA and synthesised hundreds of psychoactive compounds. His lab was known as The Farm and Tom Ray was a frequent visitor.


Mindstate Design Labs´mission is to map the biological basis of the great qualitative diversities of psychedelic experience, in other words the different neural networks that correspond to the different aspects of the psychedelic state. Their goal is to pull out an individual instrument from the symphony of a psychedelic state, to select a single flower from the bouquet of these elements of perception and the outcome is to create therapeutics to that that send a patient to very specific regions of this landscape of altered conscious states. 

Watch the video below to learn more about what Mindstate Design Labs is working toward, and watch CEO Dillan Dinardo present the company’s project correlating psychedelic-induced subjective effects with biological processes in the brain.



Below you can also find a podcast with Dillan Dinardo and Thomas Ray. In it, they discuss Tom and Dillan’s experience in YCombinator and raising an $11.5M seed round, Tom’s friendship with the late psychedelic chemist Alexander Shulgin, Mindstate’s lead programs, and the role of mystical states in the healing process: