Atai Gives Business Update, Remains Well Funded

An earnings and business update video call today for Atai Life Sciences (NASDAQ-ATAI), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that acquires, incubates and develops innovative therapeutics to treat depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health disorders, featured Atai Life Sciences CEO and Co-Founder Florian Brand; CSO and Co-Founder Srinivas Rao; and CFO Greg Weaver, as well as two analysts doing questions and answers during the call. Details and milestones of various clinical trials were the main topics of discussion during the call.

Atai’s stock rose over 8% in trading following the news and was lately selling at $3.96. One interesting development was when Atai stock prices hit a few bumps during the day of May 11th, up as high as $3.40 a share before settling back down to $3.12, during which time the company was making presentations about their current and future work at the closely watched 2022 Psych Symposium in London, billed as one of the important conferences where the leaders of Atai, Compass Pathway and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) talked about historic benchmarks in their clinical work. 

Volume peaked on May 11th at 362.92, the third-highest volume in the last 30 days, indicating that the company is riding another wave of momentum as it did six weeks ago. 

Analysts put earnings at -$.24 per share now in the first quarter, trending downwards since the beginning of the year, with a steady decline expected through the remainder of 2022 to a reduction of -$1.06 per share. 

Cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaled $335 million as of March 31, 2022, compared to $362 million as of December 31, 2021. The three-month net use of cash of $27 million was primarily attributable to net cash used in operating activities of $24.0 million and $3 million of additional investments in the platform companies.

Business highlights for Atai as of the end of March 2022 include:

– Positive Phase 2b data with COMP360 from a ground-breaking treatment-resistant depression (TRD) trial, highly encouraging Phase 2a proof-of-mechanism data with RL-007 in cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS), clinical trial initiations with PCN-101, GRX-917 and DMX-1002, and successful completion of 2 cohorts in the Introspect Digital Therapeutics ketamine trials

– Eight new programs added to the platform since January 2021, bringing the total to 13 discovery and drug development programs and four enabling technologies

– The company also ended 2021 very well capitalized with $362.27 million in total cash and ended the first quarter of 2022 with $335 million in cash.

“The first quarter of 2022 continues with strong execution of our clinical pipeline,” said Rao. “We anticipate several clinical milestones in 2022 and beyond.”

Atai met its earnings target in Q3 2021, missed it in Q1, and significantly missed it in Q4.

Research and development expenses nearly tripled—they were $15.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022, as compared to $5.6 million for the same prior year period. General and administrative expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2022, were $18 million, as compared to $9.3 million in the same prior year period. 

There are 161 million shares outstanding. Insiders own 9.41 percent of the shares; institutions own 29.23 percent. Atai’s stock price hit a high $3.64 today, from a low of $3.27 the day after the May 11th conference. The stock price is up 12 percent today. A dozen analysts rate it a buy or strong buy.

“This exciting momentum continues in 2022, and our cash runway of approximately 2 years enables us to work towards our goal of achieving clinically meaningful and sustained behavioral change in mental health patients,” Brand said in a press release.

Weaver wrapped up the 30-minute presentation: “From my perspective, these are very turbulent times,” he said. “These financial markets are very rough as we sit here and in the middle of Q2 2022. This company is in a good position. We’ve got the resources to weather this storm, we’ve got a strong treasury, and we’re going to fund these programs with discipline to move them forward to reach the milestones that you’ve heard about today. We are very focused on our sweet spot in clinical development, focused on the patients in need, and very optimistic about the future both near term, and, despite the markets, both near term and long term.”

 

Dave Hodes

David Hodes is a business journalist based in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. He has contributed feature articles to several cannabis and psychedelics publications, as well as general business/lifestyle publications, on a variety of topics. Hodes was selected as 2018 Journalist of the Year by Americans for Safe Access. He is a member of the National Press Club, and the deputy booking agent for the National Press Club Headliners Committee.


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