Companies in the Space
Atai LIFE SCIENCES is the psychedelic company with the highest number of development programs. They create companies from scratch, incubate, and acquire majority stakes in drug development companies.
Christian Angermayer of Apeiron Investment Group founded Atai along with CEO Florian Brand and CSO Srinivas Rao, MD, Ph.D. With offices in New York, London, and Berlin, atai aims to be a global biotech platform and company builder with paradigm-shifting interventions for unmet needs in the mental health space.
Atai is the third psychedelic biotech to go public in the U.S., following in the footsteps of MindMed, which went public on the Nasdaq in April, and Founders Fund-backed Compass Pathways, which listed in September.
Their programs include drugs such as ibogaine, ketamine, and MDMA derivatives. The major mental illnesses that are targeted are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and substance abuse disorder. They are currently valued at close to 3 billion dollars.
Earlier this year, in January 2023, Atai had to lay off 30% of employees after a single isomer of ketamine didn’t meet its primary endpoint of improving depression after 24 hours when compared to a placebo.
Currently, atai and its subsidiaries have a variety of ongoing efforts, ranging from discovery programs to the clinic. According to Short, atai is focused on both psychedelics and non-psychedelics that have prior evidence, whether it be direct clinical or anecdotal use and utility in humans.
“That was our rationale for focusing on compounds like DMT at the subsidiary of Viridia and an MDMA derivative that’s being developed at Empath Bio,” said Short, who believes these compounds can get to the clinic quickly with proven efficacy. (read more here)