Atai Makes $50 Million Investment Into Beckley Psytech

Beckley Psytech focuses on short duration psychedelic drug treatments.

Psychedelic biotech company atai Life Sciences (NASDAQ: ATAI) announced a strategic investment in Beckley Psytech Limited, a private clinical-stage biotechnology company dedicated to transforming short-duration psychedelics into effective and rapid-acting medicines for neuropsychiatric conditions. Atai is making a $40 million direct investment into Beckley Psytech to fund ongoing research, plus an additional $10 million to purchase shares from existing shareholders. Atai stock jumped over 2% in early trading on the news to lately sell at $1.54.

Atai said in a statement that Beckley Psytech will remain an independent, privately owned company and atai will end up owning 35.5% of Beckley Psytech. Atai said it will receive 1:1 warrant coverage at a 30% premium on the primary issuances and have the right to appoint and hold 3 of the 9 seats in Beckley Psytech’s Board of Directors, and will hold a time-limited right of first refusal on a future sale of the company, asset sales or other transfer of commercial rights, as well as an indefinite right of first negotiation for BPL-003 and ELE-101.

Atai Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Florian Brand stated, “When it comes to mental health, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the diverse pharmacology of our drug candidates acknowledges the heterogeneity of neuropsychiatric patient populations. Looking ahead to the next 12 months, adding to our already strong pipeline of potential catalysts, we anticipate this investment will lead to several additional meaningful clinical readouts, including topline results from the BPL-003 Phase 2b study, expected in the second half of 2024.”

Short Duration DMT

BPL-003 is a novel, short-duration, intranasal formulation of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT also known as Mebufotenin), and ELE-101 is a novel intravenous formulation of psilocin, the primary moiety of psilocybin. BPL-003 is currently in development for two indications: Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), with three clinical trials underway.

According to the company’s statement, the first trial for BPL-003 is a global, multi-site, double-blind, randomized Phase 2b study in people living with TRD, evaluating the effects of a medium and high dose of BPL-003 against an active placebo comparator in 225 patients with moderate-to-severe TRD. In addition to the Phase 2b study in TRD that is anticipated to read out in the second half of 2024, BPL-003 is also being investigated in two small Phase 2a open-label studies in TRD and AUD, with data expected in the first half of 2024 and mid-2024 respectively.

Beckley Psytech’s second candidate ELE-101 is being developed for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This compound has the potential to offer the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, which has demonstrated significant antidepressant effects in multiple clinical studies, in a more consistent, controllable, and shorter treatment paradigm of less than 2 hours. Initial results from the current ELE-01 Phase 1/2a study are anticipated in the first half of 2024.

Beckley Psytech’s CEO, Cosmo Feilding Mellen said: “Beckley Psytech and atai Life Sciences share a vision for the future of mental health treatment, and we are excited to join forces on the journey to develop effective, accessible, rapid-acting psychedelic medicines for people in need. Alongside the financial investment, we are optimistic about the numerous possible synergies of this collaboration, especially in developing digital tools to optimize patient support and planning for future commercialization.”

 

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


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