Compass Pathways Files for IPO

The Details:

  • Compass Pathways has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to list shares on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol CMPS
  • The filing says the company intends to raise $100 million in the go public, but this is likely a placeholder amount. 
  • Based on previous funding rounds Compass’s value is in the $500 million range, they have raised $116 million privately to date. 

Why it Matters:

The Compass go-public is a different beast from other public companies in the sector for two primary reasons: 

  • The firm has been operational for four years and in that time advanced psilocybin through the approval process significantly, achieving Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Treatment Resistant Depression. They are potentially the closest to market of any for-profit psychedelic company. 
  • A result of being operational for several years and achieving so much before going public is that early investors, including their largest shareholder ATAI Life and Peter Thiel, will see a significant return. The first financing valued the company at $16 million. 

Bottom line: Compass will be the highest valued pure play psychedelic pubco and set the value of all other competitors. 

ATAI Launches MDMA Subsidiary

The Details:

  • EmpathBio, the ATAI subsidiary, will develop derivatives of MDMA to treat PTSD and other indications. 
  • Glen Short, who wears many hats at ATAI including Early Development Lead and CEO of another platform company Veridia Life Sciences, has been named CEO of EmpathBio. 
  • This latest subsidiary is the ninth announced company to be part of ATAI’s platform. 

Why it Matters:

  • MDMA is one of the most advanced substances in the psychedelic category in terms of approvals, thanks to the work of MAPS who is engaged in an ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial. EmpathBio’s derivatives will need to go through their own approval process but would benefit from the advancement of MDMA. 
  • EmpathBio intends to develop “MDMA derivatives with different pharmacological profiles than MDMA,” meaning they would keep the components which appear to be effective in treating PTSD or other indications while removing or reducing negative effects associated with MDMA such as anxiety, dizziness, fatigue and headache and jaw clenching. If successful this substance would expand the patient pool of who could benefit from this treatment. 

MindMed To Study LSD/MDMA Combo

The Details:

  • MindMed (NEO:MMED) have announced a Phase 1 clinical trial to study the combination of LSD and MDMA. 
  • The trial will be conducted in partnership with Leitchi Laboratories and treat patients in Basel, Switzerland, beginning in Q4 of 2020. The trial should take about a year to complete. 

Why it Matters:

  • MindMed hypothesizes that the combined effects of each substance will be more effective than each on their own. 
  • The researchers believe that the addition of MDMA to LSD in an assisted therapy session could help to negate some of the negative effects of LSD which include negative thoughts, rumination, panic and paranoia.
  • In effect, the trial intends to use MDMA as a type of cheat code to ensure that the patient is in the right mindset for an LSD experience. 

Fears Rise About Instagram Ads for Ketamine

The Details:

  • As ketamine has moved into the mainstream as an ‘easy cure’ for depression, a phenomenon largely spurred by the approval of Eksetamine, experts are warning that the marketing of the drug may be out of control. 
  • There are reports of clinics such as Mindbloom and Save Minds running advertisements on Instagram using the same on trend styles and techniques as any other consumer product. 
  • Ketamine clinics have become so common agencies dedicated just to marketing them have sprung up. 

Why it Matters:

  • Experts warn that promoting a drug so ubiquitously will lead people to experiment with it outside of a clinical setting and with untested “street drug” equivalents. 
  • The fear also exists that individuals will pursue these treatments without fully understanding the side effects or will think of ketamine as a quick solution to potentially more complicated medical and psychological issues. As one expert says “it’s not a CBD pillow.” 

First Canadian Patient Undergoes Psilocybin Treatment with Government Approval

The Details:

  • Last week, Thomas Hartle became the first Canadian to be treated with psilocybin with the government’s approval. 
  • Hartle, who is living with terminal cancer, was approved by the Ministry of Health along with three other patients under the Section 56 exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, to use psilocybin. 
  • The therapy was administered by Dr. Bruce Tobin, a clinical counsellor, who worked with Hartle before, during and after the session. 

Why It Matters: 

  • The openness of Thomas Hartle sharing his experience to get the approval and his experience with the treatment may inspire others who could benefit to pursue similar approvals. 
  • The study of psilocybin assisted therapy to treat end of life anxiety is still very much in its infancy, more research wouldn’t need to be conducted before there is widespread approval and access. 

What Else We’re Watching 

Canadian Government Will Respond To Psychedelics Decriminalization Petition: A petition calling on the Canadian government to decriminalize psychedelics has well surpassed the minimum threshold requiring a government response. No action other than an acknowledgement is required from the government. 

Cops Raid Magic Mushroom Church in Oakland: The Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants was the only “psychedelic church” in the United States. It’s now been shut down after cops raided it. 

ATAI and IntelGenx enter into Feasibility Agreement:  As if ATAI wasn’t making enough news this week, they’ve announced an agreement with IntelGenx to develop novel formulations of pharmaceutical-grade psychedelics based on IntelGenx’s polymeric film technologies.

Silo Wellness to Go-Public: The company announced an agreement with Yukoterre Resources (CSE:YT) to conduct a reverse takeover transaction. 

Congressman Raising Money To Legalize Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has thrown his support behind the initiative to legalize psilocybin in his home state and is even helping raise money for the cause. 


Two Psychedelic Companies Pitch at YC Demo Day: Two psychedelic startups, Osmin and Gilgamesh, pitched at Y-Combinator’s demo day, one of the top Silicon Valley institutions, a sure sign of the mainstreaming of psychedelics.