- ATAI Life Sciences Will Use the Proceeds from its $24 Million Convertible Note Financing to Explore the Effects of Psychedelic Medicine on Mental Health
- A New Group of Renowned Investors Led By PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel Took a Position in the Psychedelics Startup
- ATAI is Said to Be Working Towards an IPO, Which Could Take Place Within the Next 12 Months
As a global biotechnology platform and ‘company builder,’ ATAI Life Sciences is working to address a range of medical needs through innovations in neuropsychiatry and the development of psychedelic medicine. In other words, they’re studying the effects of psychedelics on mental health.
Based in Berlin, New York, and London — and founded by German investor Christian Angermayer — ATAI Life Sciences has a lofty vision: “to cure mental health disorders, enabling people to live healthier and happier lives.” With a focus on depression, anxiety, and addiction, “ATAI Life Sciences is dedicated to bringing innovation to mental healthcare, a field that has seen little progress since the development of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively.”
Despite widespread market uncertainty due to COVID-19, ATAI announced last week the close of a massive $24 million convertible note financing round. Led by co-founder of PayPal and legendary Silicon Valley billionaire investor, Peter Thiel, the funding round also attracted investment by renowned investors such as Steve Jurvetson and Maryanna Saenko of Future Ventures, Thor Bjorgolfsson, Michael Novogratz’ Galaxy Digital, Efrem Kamen, and ATAI Life Sciences founder Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group.
“We are thrilled to have partners like Peter Thiel and Future Ventures with us for the next phase of our journey. Both Peter and Steve have been prescient in identifying paradigm-shifting enterprises, and we’re honoured by their trust in ATAI’s vision,” said ATAI founder Christian Angermayer.
Thiel Capital’s Managing Director Joins ATAI’s Board
The Managing Director and Chief Medical Officer of Thiel Capital LLC, Jason Camm, has joined the Board of Directors at ATAI Life Sciences, which is rumoured to be working toward an initial public offering within one year. Camm — who was recognized as a ‘Young Global Leader’ at the World Economic Forum last month — is expected to help guide ATAI’s future development strategy.
“ATAI’s world-class team and one-of-a-kind platform are driving much-needed change in mental healthcare. I’m excited to be joining them in bringing novel therapeutics to the millions who’ve been failed by currently available medicines,” said Camm.
In an exclusive email, Camm reaffirmed ATAI’s commitment to addressing mental health.
“Mental health is poised to become the world’s leading disease burden. ATAI is advancing an evidence-based approach across a portfolio of medicines, each aimed at the various mental health challenges we face across the world today. I’m excited to join the founders and management team to help the company scale and reach the many patients who could benefit from this approach,” wrote Camm.
ATAI’s $24 Million Plan
The biotechnology company is expected to use the latest round of funding — coupled with its previous Series B round of $43 million — to expand its research into the impacts of psychedelics on mental health, as well as to bolster existing programs.
The funding will also be used to broaden the ATAI platform, which could include acquisitions. As a means of gaining traction for their psychedelic treatments and studies, ATAI is in discussions with institutional biotech funds as well as pharmaceutical companies.
“This $24 million round demonstrates that interest in mental health solutions is not a trend. Rather, it reflects growing awareness that existing therapeutics are not meeting patients’ complex needs – and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the situation,” explained Christian Angermayer.
As a part of an overall focus on using psychedelics to treat depression, anxiety, and addiction, ATAI plans to begin a Phase II study with partner DemeRx exploring the use of ibogaine — naturally-occurring psychoactive compound— to treat opioid addiction. ATAI is also studying the use of Arketamine as a potential treatment for depression. In 2018, the antidepressant drug market was valued at approximately $13.7 billion — and it’s projected to grow by as much as 24% in 2020.
“No single treatment will work for all. We look at treatments that at least have a long-lasting effect, if not curative potential,” stated ATAI co-founder and CEO Florian Brand.
Brand also stressed the importance of prioritizing mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ATAI CEO stating the following:
“Given the immediate and long-term mental health impacts of coronavirus containment efforts, the urgency of the mental health crisis will only grow. We are more committed than ever to ensuring people around the world have access to safe and effective treatment alternatives.”