Psychedelic Bulletin: Harvard Revisits Psychedelics; MindMed Attracts Strategic Investor; Psychedelics Companies Shed Cannabis Assets

Psychedelic Bulletin: Harvard Revisits Psychedelics; MindMed Attracts Strategic Investor; Psychedelics Companies Shed Cannabis Assets

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is set to become the latest frontier of psychedelics research, with the official launch of the Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics taking place earlier this week. To many, this signifies the return of psychedelics to Harvard, which has a tumultuous history with hallucinogenics.

Historical significance aside, the Center is sure to make significant contributions to the field, and is backed by an advisory board including Rick Doblin (MAPS), Michael Pollan, Ekaterina Malievskaia (COMPASS Pathways), and Robin Carhart-Harris (Imperial College London).

In other news, MindMed appears to have courted a “strategic investor” to the tune of $19.5m, though their identity remains unknown. As the psychedelics sector continues to grow, a number of ex-cannabis companies are seeking to shed their former associations and assets. And, Atai’s DemeRx has the green light from UK regulators to begin recruiting participants for its ibogaine-for-opioid use disorder trial. 

Psychedelic Sector News

Numinus Expands Research Lab

Numinus is set to expand its psychedelics research laboratory via the development of a building next to its existing lab. The Vancouver-based company hopes the new facility will enhance their IP and partnership strategy, as well as enhancing their analytic testing and contract research revenue streams.

The new lab space will also be used to accelerate Numinus’ work in cultivating psilocybe mushrooms, building a spore bank and tissue culture library, honing extraction methods, etc.

Psychedelics Companies Shedding their Cannabis Assets

While this author doesn’t place much weight on comparisons between the cannabis and psychedelics sectors, there are a number of companies that rolled-over from the former to the latter. Now, a growing number of those companies are seeking to spin out or sell those assets.

This week, Mydecine became the latest cannabis-psychedelics company to announce plans in that regard. The Denver-based company intends to transfer its US cannabis assets to a newly-incorporate wholly-owned subsidiary (Spinco) which may then list on the NEO Exchange.

Lobe Sciences, meanwhile, opted to sell its cannabis assets, which it referred to as “non-core” assets. Lobe receives $1.75m cash on closing.

DemeRx Receives UK Regulator Approval for Ibogaine Trial

Atai Life Sciences platform company DemeRx has received approval from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to conduct a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of their Ibogaine HCL candidate (DMX-1002) in opioid use disorder.

Anecdotal reports and observational, nonclinical studies (e.g., Alper et al., 1999) have long suggested the efficacy of ibogaine for substance use disorders, with companies like Universal Ibogaine delivering the drug in retreat settings.

Other Company News & Announcements

Explore more via our News page.

Financials, Financings and IPOs

MindMed closed a $19.5m financing which appears to involve one strategic investor. Elsewhere, COMPASS Pathways shared its financial results, and Octarine Bio closed an extended seed of $1.2m with further participation from the Danish State Growth Fund.

MindMed Announces $19.5m Offering

At the top of the week, MindMed announced an offering of 6 million units at $3.25 each, for gross proceeds of $19.5 million. According to MindMed, “it is expected that the Offering will be primarily sold to one large institutional investor.” The identity of the institutional investor is currently unknown.

The next day, MindMed announced the closing of the deal, with CEO J.R. Rahn explaining: 

 “As we march forward with our uplisting plans for Nasdaq and the overall advancement of the MindMed portfolio, we saw it as a timely opportunity to bring in a strategic investor to support MindMed’s future growth initiatives. In the years ahead, I believe MindMed will be viewed as much as a digital medicine platform as it is a pharmaceutical drug development company.”

We await to learn the identity of the strategic investor, but it is clear that Rahn is seeking to position his company as having a firm foothold in the digital medicine space.

This funding brings MindMed’s cash on hand to $205.2m.

COMPASS Pathways year-end and Q4 2020 Financials

COMPASS shared their Q4 and year-end 2020 financial results and business highlights this week, showing a cash (and equivalents) position of $190.3m as of 31st December 2020.

Octarine Bio Closes Extended Seed Round of $1.2m

Synthetic biology company Octarine Bio has closed an extended seed round financing of $1.2m, with backing from the Danish State Growth Fund.

Weekend Reading

WSJ: Could Group Therapy Get a Boost From Psychedelics?

In the latest mainstream media coverage of psychedelics, The Wall Street Journal covers MAPS’ planned study of MDMA-assisted group therapy for veterans suffering with PTSD.

MGH Officially Launches Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics

Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital turned heads this week as it officially launched the Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics, led by Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD.

Advisors to the Center include Michael Pollan, Rick Doblin, Ekaterina Malievskaia, and Robin Carhart-Harris. Read more in the Boston Globe’s coverageA long, strange trip to the mainstream for psychedelics.

Stay Informed in 2021

We can only expect the rate of change and development in the psychedelic space to continue accelerating in 2021. Stay informed via our various platforms and channels…

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