From August 20th to 26th, a cohort of young men and women took a journey to the Honduran island of Roatán. But it wasn’t just any tourist trip. This group of friends travelled from the United States to participate in the first clinical trial for an experimental genetic editing therapy in the Caribbean Island’s semi-autonomous zone called Próspera.
For years, Mac Davis, Walter Patterson, and Tristan Roberts have worked on medical treatments including gene therapies in the United States, largely escaping the purview of the FDA by experimenting on themselves.
High profile experiments they attempted included gene therapies for HIV and Herpes in 2017 and 2018, which caught the attention of international media and spawned programs on Netflix and Showtime. Those experiments were put on hold following the high-profile but unrelated death of their partner and investor at the time, Aaron Traywick.
In the time since then, Davis, Patterson, and Roberts have founded MiniCircle Inc and changed their approach. The team has been focusing on Follistatin, a naturally occurring protein found in all humans. The team believes that if provoked to create more of it, a body could gain superior health outcomes like increase in bone density, muscle development, weight loss, and life span augmentation.
While Patterson and Davis have experimented on themselves with the Follistatin treatment, this time, they want to take their experimentation to the next level. Unable to feasibly run clinical trials through the FDA’s regulatory process, they assembled the first cohort, and brought them to Roatán.
The first cohort includes one person who took the therapy before the rest of the group, one prominent influencer who wished to remain off the record during the trip, and then four friends of MiniCircle: Megan Hill (an investor in the company), Dylan McGrath (a martial artist), Stephanie Grace “Tep” Rowe Arriola (a scientist), and Alec Spier (another martial artist).
The cohort met with Trey Goff, Chief of Staff & Chief Marketing Officer for Próspera, the semi-autonomous zone.
During the trip, the scientists and participants met and toured with Trey Goff, the Chief of Staff for Próspera, the semi-autonomous zone.
A little over 700 acres, this "Zone for Employment and Economic Development" (ZEDE) receives an enormous amount of autonomy from the… pic.twitter.com/bB519fb6is
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) May 15, 2023
The trip lined up with a wellness week being hosted at the Pristine Bay Resort, a business recently absorbed into Próspera. The event was put on by the GARM clinic, who would administer the gene therapy.
As the documentary shows, the cohort’s journey in Roatán was a hybrid between an opportunity to receive the gene therapy itself and a vacation.
“It’s experimental medical tourism,” Patterson explained.
During a final dinner with the first cohort of trial participants to receive the gene therapy, Mac Davis quoted Carl Sagan and proposed a toast to “the future of the human experience.”
He says that this dinner constituted “the largest grouping of genetically transformed humans that has ever been together on the planet.”
“That we know of Mac, that we know of,” said participant/investor Megan Hill.
Six subjects were administered gene therapy in the first cohort, hoping their bodies will produce more Follistatin.
By the conclusion of Phase 1 trials in August 2023, MiniCircle Inc plans to have administered the gene therapy on 50 participants under the supervision of an Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Following IRB approval, MiniCircle plans to conduct a Phase 2 trial with 250 participants.
By the end of Phase 3, MiniCircle hopes to have included 1500 participants in their Follistatin gene therapy trial.