The coronavirus pandemic has sent a shockwave across the world, taking an unprecedented toll on our lives including mental health since the majority of us are confined to work and exercise from home.
According to a report by WHO Euro (World Health Organisation Europe), in many western countries, mental health disorders are the major cause of disability, accounting for 30% to 40% of chronic sick leaves, and costing nearly 3% of GDP.
Also, the Health at a Glance: Europe report states that mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and drug use disorders affect over one in six people across the European Union. Embracing the opportunity, many startups have started using various technological advancements to improve mental healthcare.
In this regard, Berlin-based ATAI Life Sciences is a biotech platform founded in response to the clear and growing unmet needs of mental health patients worldwide. In the latest development, the German company announced a $125M (approx €105M) funding in the Series C financing round, including $32M (approx €27M) of its 2020 convertible debt that converted in connection with the Series C.
Who led the funding round?
The round was co-led by Apeiron Investment Group, the family office of ATAI’s founder Christian Angermayer, Peter Thiel, and Catalio Capital Management. Other existing investors – Future Ventures and Galaxy Investment Partners, as well as new investors – Falcon Edge Capital and Pura Vida Pro, LLC – also participated in the round.
How will the funding be used?
The German startup will use the proceeds to fund pre-clinical and clinical development of ATAI’s existing mental health programs, to expand its drug candidate pipeline, and further advance ATAI’s platform technologies.
According to the company, this funding will provide the necessary runway to accomplish several key clinical milestones including Phase 2 data readouts for arketamine in treatment-resistant depression at Perception Neuroscience and ibogaine in opioid use disorder at DemeRx. Also, the financing will be used in the completion of Phase 1 and the initiation of Phase 2 trials at four other programs.
Treating mental health
Founded by Christian Angermayer, Florian Brand, and Lars Christian Wilde in 2018, ATAI is dedicated to acquiring, incubating, and efficiently developing therapeutics to treat depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health disorders. The company’s business model focus on psychedelic therapy and other drugs with differentiated safety profiles and therapeutic potential.
Florian Brand, CEO & co-founder of ATAI Life Sciences, says, “We believe that our psychedelic and non-psychedelic compounds have compelling therapeutic promise based upon a growing body of scientific evidence.”
Headquartered in Berlin, with offices in New York and San Diego. To date, the company has raised $232.1M (approx €195M) in funding with backing from various investors.
Main image credits: ATAI Life Sciences