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Dave HodesAugust 23, 2022


To talk about company resilience in the psychedelics industry is a bit premature. After all, most of the more prominent companies didn’t open their doors until 2016 or later.

But it’s the perfect time to build a foundation for resilience while they look to a future of opportunity. Established life science businesses can help show the way.

Challenges to Survival

The COVID-19 pandemic was one of those unplanned disruptors that forced many life sciences businesses to adapt quickly to a different business landscape and demonstrate not only their resilience but their ability to answer the call of duty during a health crisis.

Big, established pharmaceutical companies such Pfizer and Merck take disruptive events in stride, even when called on to put everything else on hold to address the outbreak of a deadly virus. But other life science companies emerging in the same space, such as psychedelics, are not so inclined.

As Pfizer’s billion-dollar revenues pile up year after year, it can adjust relatively easily to even unplanned change. For example, even with the pandemic disruption, Pfizer reported full-year 2021 revenue of $81.3 billion, reflecting a 92% growth in operations.

But nearly every one of the prominent psychedelic companiesAtai Life Sciences NV (Nasdaq: ATAI), Compass Pathways (Nasdaq: CMPS), Cybin (NYSE: CYBN), Mind Medicine (NEO: MMED, Nasdaq: MNMD), Seelos Therapeutics (Nasdaq: SEEL) – still have not shown any significant revenue. They are on the edge of failure already, and any disruption could swiftly kill the business.

One example of psychedelics’ tenuous grip on survival comes from Compass Pathways, founded in 2016. “Even if the company’s therapeutic development efforts are successful, it is uncertain when, if ever, the company will realize revenue from sales,” the company noted on page 13 of its quarterly financial filing with the SEC.

Most of these psychedelic companies look to be in serious financial trouble. Atai included these risk factors in its Form S-1 filed with the SEC:

  • Our limited operating history may make it difficult to evaluate the success of our business and to assess our future viability; we have never generated revenue and may never be profitable.
  • We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company and have incurred significant losses since our inception. We anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future.
  • We expect our financial condition and operating results to continue to fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control.

The unexpected can and will happen for clinical-stage development bioscience businesses, like psychedelics, working on novel drugs expected to have a multibillion-dollar earnings future.

Take Mind Medicine’s roller coaster ride this year. The company, founded in 2019, is a clinical stage neuro-pharmaceutical drug development company developing product candidates based on psychedelic substances. Its shares fell far and fast, from $2.86 a share in November 2021 to 58 cents on Aug. 9. It then surged an incredible 52% on Aug. 18 after news came out of a rich investor, Jake Freeman, jumping in.

According to the Financial Times (FT), Freeman and his uncle Dr. Scott Freeman, a former pharmaceutical executive, recently amassed an activist stake in the company. FT reported that Freeman is planning to have a “constructive” dialogue with the board alongside his study of complex analysis and mathematical statistics at the University of Southern California.

That’s not resilience for MindMed; that’s a lucky break that should begin an earnest discussion about resilience since there is so much more at stake.

Strategies for Resilience

There are signs of some psychedelics businesses maturing and adjustments being made, which could indicate more attention to resilience as a higher priority item.

For example, management at Atai Life Sciences reported in their recent quarterly financial report that it had enough money to operate into 2025 ($487 million).

To sustain that goal, the company “streamlined its pipeline by decelerating programs and discontinuing funding beyond our obligations to several programs.” The company said it will further review its pipeline and prioritize capital expenditures of research and development programs with the most potential – financially and for patients.

MindMed, on the other hand, appointed two new directors to its board, a move that is seen by industry observers as a sort of “special sauce” that makes the company more attractive as an investment. Specifically, the new directors add depth of business insight and life sciences value to MindMed’s management objectives.

This strategy of clearing the pipeline and beefing up expertise is probably the best way for any psychedelics company to continue to not just grow but lead the industry as a resilient operator.

Seelos Therapeutics, a company founded in 2016 advancing multiple late-stage therapeutic candidates for central nervous system disorders using ketamine and gene therapy, reported on page 7 of its quarterly report that it generated “limited revenues,” and that management believes that the company’s existing cash and cash equivalents as of June 30, 2022, “are not sufficient to satisfy its operating cash needs for the year.”

One of the 10 ways that Seelos management listed in which it could stay resilient against this somewhat dark and foreboding outlook was its ability to “maintain, expand and defend the scope of its intellectual property portfolio, including the amount and timing of any payments the company may be required to make, or that it may receive, in connection with the licensing, filing, prosecution, defense and enforcement of any patents or other intellectual property rights.”

A strategy centered around intellectual property could be just the thing to keep a company resilient in the face of any economic or competitive challenge.

Cybin, founded in 2019, continues to build its intellectual property portfolio, with one patent issued and 19 patents pending across six patent families, almost guaranteeing resilience against anything but cataclysmic economic collapse.

The company has completed more than 200 preclinical studies to date, supporting its growing portfolio of proprietary psychedelic molecules and has developed more than 50 novel compounds.

The good news is that the life science industry, which includes psychedelics, represents a steady economic growth driver, bolstering state, regional and national economies even during economic recessions, according to the June 2021 report by the Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes (CSBI). While this has held true during the last two recessions, 2020 was perhaps the ultimate test of the industry’s resilience.

“Despite the challenges of a global pandemic and the resulting economic shutdowns that led to a recession, and facing a corresponding seismic shift to remote operations, in 2020, the industry managed to grow its employment base by 1.4% while the overall private sector saw a 5.1% decline.”

Interviews with life sciences executives point to several emerging technology areas that are expected to take on increasing importance and have implications for talent needs both immediately and into the near future, according to the report. The technology and innovation areas most cited include data analytics and data sciences, automation of production and other processes and related robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Psychedelics businesses are beginning to settle into a more of a bioscience/life sciences business development routine, building on the quality of their clinical trial operations for now and guarding their intellectual property. Following a business plan to grow their workforce and stay resilient against the threats both internally and externally is really a higher priority agenda item today.

Results will play out over the next five years or so as clinical trials lead to final FDA drug approval. Then sales will begin, and they will realize some of their first revenue figures.

The promise of better human health and wellness using unique and novel drug therapies will, hopefully, keep the top psychedelics business today resilient and humming along, with only the usual bump in the road to deal with while fulfilling their destinies.

Dave HodesJuly 25, 2022


While the psychedelics industry gets its proverbial ducks in a row, there is a growing interest in sharing business opportunities to help companies jostle for market leadership in an ever-burgeoning marketplace. 

In the developing merger and acquisitions scenario, psychedelics company leaders are hoping that mergers will help accelerate mainstream adoption and innovation, eventually leading to faster approval of psychedelics that are accessible and affordable. But sometimes, market conditions are not ideal.

Does the psychedelics sector even need mergers and acquisitions? That was a question asked of “Shark Tank’s” Kevin O’Leary at the inaugural Benzinga Psychedelics Conference in April. “The minute one of them gets to Stage 3 [trials], you’re going to lift all the tides,” he said. “I think Big Pharma’s starting to look at it,” O’Leary said, then predicted Atai Life Science, Compass Pathways and MindMed will have to merge. “They each need another $200 million by the time they get this to medicine.”

Here are 7 of the more interesting mergers and acquisitions that the psychedelics movers and shakers are watching.

  1. Eleusis and Silver Spike Acquisition Corporation. In January, Eleusis, a clinical-stage life science company and Silver Spike Acquisition Corp. II (“SPKB”) (NASDAQ: SPKB/SPKBU/SPKBW), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, announced they signed a definitive business combination agreement expected to make Eleusis a public company. But the deal was terminated on June 9 due to “unfavorable market conditions.”

The combined enterprise value of the merged company was estimated at approximately $446 million. The transaction was expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of 2022, with the current owners of Eleusis retaining approximately 49 percent ownership of the combined company. 

It was expected that, upon the close of the transaction, the combined company would be operated through Eleusis Inc., a new holding company, and would apply to have its common stock listed on NASDAQ under the symbol “ELEU.” After the termination, Silver Spike II intends to continue its efforts to identify new prospective target businesses focused on the cannabis and alternative health and wellness industries.

  1. Mycotopia Therapies and Emotional Intelligence Ventures (Ei.Ventures). Mycotopia Therapies Inc. (OTC Pink: TPIA), a biopharma company focused on research, technology, and the development of medical psychedelics, announced in May an update on the previously announced merger with Ei.Ventures Inc. (“Ei”). Mycotopia is a subsidiary of Ehave, which owns approximately 9,793,754 shares of Mycotopia Therapies valued at more than $24 million. The transaction between Mycotopia Therapies and Ei.Ventures will be structured as a triangular merger. The two companies will form a new holding company, PSLY.COM, and operate as subsidiaries after the merger. PSLY.COM will apply for a NASDAQ listing. The companies anticipate closing the transaction on or about July 30, 2022.
  2. Numinus and Novamind. Numinus (TSX: NUMI) (OTCQX: NUMIF) announced in April that they are acquiring Novamind Inc. (CSE: NM) (OTCQB: NVMDF).

The acquisition will be done in stock, and shareholders of Novamind will receive 0.84 of a common share of Numinus (called an exchange ratio) per Novamind share held, implying an offer price of $0.44 per Novamind share. When the transaction is completed, Novamind shareholders will own around 18 percent of Numinus.

The combined company will operate 13 wellness clinics in focused geographies across the U.S. and Canada and will continue developing and scaling innovative psychedelic therapy protocols and procedures for screening, preparation, dosing, and integration targeting difficult-to-treat mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pandemic burnout, depression, addiction, and eating disorders.

Novamind had completed a previous deal on November 12, 2020, when Hinterland Metals and Novamind, in a reverse takeover, entered into a consolidation agreement that was completed on December 22, 2020. This followed another move by Novamind on July 22, 2020, when the company completed the acquisition of 100 percent of the shares of Cedar Psychiatry and Cedar Clinical Research in Utah.

  1. Optimi Health, Numinus, and a genetic bank of mushrooms. In a different sort of business acquisition, Optimi Health (CSE: OPTI) (OTCQX: OPTHF) (FRA: 8BN), a company producing natural, scalable, and accessible mushroom formulations, acquired a diverse catalog of psilocybin and functional mushroom strains intended for cultivation in its 20,000 square foot, EU-GMP compliant facility in Princeton, British Columbia. The acquisition includes 24 psychedelic and nine functional strains, giving it one of the largest genetic banks in the sector. Formulated psychedelic strains will be made available to licensed researchers, Canada’s Special Access Program (SAP), as well as being utilized for on-site research in Optimi’s recently expanded analytical laboratory. The functional strains will be optimized for the company’s growing whole body, natural supplement brand, Optimi Life. 

Optimi Health also entered into an agreement with Numinus to provide certain psychedelic research, development, and testing services. Numinus holds a Health Canada dealer’s license and all activities proposed under the company’s arrangement with Numinus will be carried out by Numinus personnel at its facility in compliance with its dealer’s license requirements. All resulting intellectual property will be owned 100 percent by Optimi.

In July, Optimi Health submitted a request with Health Canada for an amendment to its Controlled Substances Dealer’s License. The amendment would enable Optimi to synthesize, process, and distribute pharmaceutical-grade MDMA, among other substances, at its Princeton facility.

  1. Atai Life Sciences and Compass Pathways. Although not truly a merger or acquisition (so far), Atai increased its ownership interest in Compass Pathways from 19.7 percent to 20.8 percent in November 2021. The increased equity stake position is seen by analysts as a demonstration of confidence in Compass Pathways following the announcement of data results of the Compass Pathways randomized, controlled, double-blind phase IIb clinical trial to study the effects of psilocybin on treatment-resistant depression. It was the largest psilocybin therapy clinical trial ever conducted, with 233 patients from 10 countries in North America and Europe. The objective of the trial was to find the appropriate dose for a larger, pivotal phase III clinical trial which Compass expects to begin in 2022.
  2. Awakn Life Sciences and Axon Klinikken AS. Awakn Life Sciences (NEO: AWKN) (OTCQB: AWKNF) (FSE: 954), a biotechnology company developing and delivering psychedelic therapeutics (medicines and therapies) to treat addiction, announced in October the closing of its acquisition of Axon Klinikken AS, a leading ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic in Norway. Axon will be renamed “Awakn Clinics Oslo AS.”

Awakn Clinics Oslo AS Clinic will serve as the hub from which Awakn plans to expand its clinical network across the region. The acquisition is part of Awakn’s larger strategy to open several addiction and mental health clinics across Europe, including clinics in Bristol and London, that Awakn anticipates being operational this year, according to the press release announcing the deal.

  1. Cybin and Entheon Biomedical Corporation. Cybin (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) is a biotechnology company focused on advancing pharmaceutical therapies, delivery mechanisms, novel compounds, and protocols as potential therapies for various psychiatric and neurological conditions. On June 7, 2022, Cybin announced that, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Cybin Ireland, it entered into an agreement to acquire a Phase I N. N dimethyltryptamine (DMT) study from Entheon Biomedical Corp. (CSE: ENBI) (OTCQB: ENTBF) (FSE: 1XU1) to accelerate the clinical development path for CYB004, Cybin’s proprietary DMT molecule for the potential treatment of anxiety disorders. The deal closed July 11, with Cybin paying a reported $780,000. Entheon will continue to support Cybin’s CYB004 study and act as external consultants for up to 12 months. Cybin will pay Entheon $373,000 for their consultancy services.

Dave HodesApril 19, 2022


The year 2021 has not been kind to the psychedelics industry. The stock performances of the 60 publicly traded psychedelics companies on the Psychedelic Stock Index have been trending steadily downward since February 22, 2021, to their lowest point since the index began on June 1, 2020.

The pandemic has definitely affected psychedelic business development. Nevertheless, a few companies are getting closer to offering products and expanding therapy services. So a looming perfect storm of more psychedelic companies laying the groundwork for further development may encourage a business rebound in 2022.

Here are our picks for the five psychedelic companies to watch in 2022:

Atai Life Sciences, Berlin, Germany – listed on NASDAQ (ATAI) since July, 2021 – Market cap $999 million

Atai Life Sciences, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company aiming to transform the treatment of mental health disorders, is also one of the largest shareholders in Compass Pathways. In December, 2021, Atai Impact, launched in October, 2021 as the philanthropic program of Atai Life Sciences, announced its first major initiative, the establishment of the Atai $2 million Fellowship Fund in Psychedelic Neuroscience in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics. The company also entered into a series of joint ventures and acquisitions in 2021, including with Psyber, a globally based startup focused on the development of brain-computer interface-enabled digital therapeutics for treating mental health issues. What’s coming in 2022: In January, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave Atai Investigational New Drug (IND) clearance to conduct a clinical study of ketamine. Atai plans to initiate the study early this year through its platform company Perception Neuroscience.

Compass Pathways, London, England – listed on NASDAQ (CMPS) since September 2020 – Market cap $751 million

Compass Pathways is a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. Compass has completed a phase IIb clinical trial of psilocybin therapy for treatment resistant depression in 22 sites across Europe and North America, one of the largest randomized, controlled, double-blind psilocybin therapy clinical trial ever conducted. Compass is also running a phase II clinical trial of COMP360 psilocybin therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  What’s coming in 2022: The company is preparing for a meeting with the FDA in early 2022 to finalize a program using their psilocybin therapy, and anticipates commencing that program late in 2022.


Cybin, Toronto, Ontario, CNlisted on NYSE (CYBN) since August 2021 – Market cap $192 million

Cybin is a leading biotechnology company focused on progressing psychedelic therapeutics by utilizing proprietary drug discovery platforms, innovative drug delivery systems, novel formulation approaches and treatment regimens for psychiatric disorders. It was the first psychedelics company to trade on the NYSE in August, 2021. The company has raised just over $96 million to date to fund clinical trials, M&A and IP strategies. What’s coming in 2022: In October 26, 2021, the FDA authorized an IND application to proceed with the company’s sponsored feasibility study using Kernel’s Flow technology to measure ketamine’s psychedelic effect on cerebral cortex hemodynamics (brain flow blood). Kernel Flow uses pulsed light instead of continuous wave light to increase measured brain information. Kernel Flow is a wearable device the size and look of a bicycle helmet. In the future, it could be more broadly used for neuroscientific or physiological studies of brain activity during psychedelic use.


Field Trip Health, Toronto, CN – listed on NASDAQ (FTRP) since July 2021 – Market cap $149 million

Field Trip does research and development on novel, psychedelic-inspired regulated medicines, and operates clinics that deliver ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in Canada and the United States. Field Trip currently operates and/or owns nine clinics in Toronto, Ontario; Fredericton, 

New Brunswick; New York, New York; Santa Monica, California; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. What’s coming in 2022: The company is planning to build an additional nine Field Trip Health Centers in Vancouver, British Columbia; San Diego, California; Washington, DC; Stamford, Connecticut; San Carlos, California; Austin, Texas; Scottsdale, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; and Miami, Florida. On January, 2022, Field Trip announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice of Allowance for Field Trip’s patent application for their first novel psychedelic molecule in development. Field Trip expects the patent to be issued in February, 2022.


MindMed, New York, NY – listed on NASDAQ (MNMD) since April 2021. Market cap $357 million.

MindMed is a clinical-stage biotech company that seeks to discover, develop and deploy psychedelic-inspired medicines and therapies to address mental health and addiction. What’s coming in 2022: On January 4, 2022, the company announced the completion of its Phase 1 clinical trial of 18-MC, the company’s non-hallucinogenic proprietary derivative of ibogaine, being developed for the treatment of indications linked to opioid use disorder. This phase 1 single and multiple ascending dose trial conducted at a single clinical research site in Perth, Australia, evaluated the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and effects on the cognitive activity of 18-MC in healthy volunteers. The trial was completed in December 2021 with results expected in early 2022.

Sources: Company SEC filings; Yahoo! Finance; Psychedelic Stock Index; company websites and press releases

Dave HodesMarch 21, 2022


Deepak Chopra is a well-known thought leader in the world, working as the founder, chairman of the board, and director of the Chopra Foundation. His thoughts and actions on matters of mental health care have been courted by world leaders and business developers across the globe for years. 

He is no stranger to the power of psychedelics, recounting his experience in 1965 with LSD as part of a controlled experiment with other medical students in India. He looked at a picture of Mother Teresa and experienced deep compassion. “It changed the course of my life,” he said. “It was the most intense experience of what it means to have compassion, to be connected.”

Chopra’s Never Alone Alliance, a collaboration of businesses, policymakers, mental health professionals, wellness initiatives, scientists, schools, and more, has one profound goal: to build mental health awareness, advance scientific research, work with policymakers and create a global technology platform to democratize access to resources. 

To that end, the foundation announced a partnership on February 15, 2022, with Cybin (NASDAQ: CYBN), a biopharmaceutical company focused on progressing psychedelics to therapeutics. 

According to a press release announcing the partnership, the Chopra Foundation will be working closely with Cybin to support education and awareness about its research to harness the potential of psychedelic therapies in mental health. Cybin is targeting mental health issues such as major depressive disorder, alcohol use disorder, and anxiety disorders.

Doug Drysdale, CEO of Cybin, explained how the partnership came about. “It was an introduction from a mutual friend,” Drysdale told Psychedealia. “One of the board members of the Chopra Foundation is a friend with one of our founders. So there was a sort of natural connection there. And of course, the Chopra Foundation has been working on mental health issues and mental health awareness for a very long time.”

He says that he met Chopra several times. “Deepak is passionate about this,” Drysdale said. “He sees that psychedelics have the potential to help people, but in combination with psychological support. So I think we talked about this, where it’s psychotherapy or some kind of psychological support combined with the molecule itself. And of course, that’s his background, helping people get into the right state of mind. If you combine the right state of mind with medicine, then it leads to better outcomes. So there are so many synergies here across the two organizations.”

Drysdale added that Chopra is a physician who has been practicing medicine for decades. “His foundation, and him and his personality, have an extensive reach,” Drysdale said. “He really has a large following. So we’re looking to full collaboration with other thought leaders, scientists, etc. Because getting the message out there takes a long time. It takes a long time to change people’s minds.”

Cybin and the Chopra Foundation already had one event, where they kicked off the partnership at the Lake Nona Institute Impact Forum in February. “That is a starting point,” Drysdale said. “We’re planning a series of events throughout this year where we can connect and relay some of the messages we’re working on to policymakers and thought leaders and opinion leaders. And we really have an aligned goal, which is raising awareness to mental health.” 

The Chopra Foundation has been working on raising awareness of mental health as well, in addition to trying to overcome some of the stigma around psychedelics. But Drysdale said that they have made a lot of progress around mental health awareness during the pandemic. “In some ways, people are more willing and open to admit that they’re struggling. But we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “You can imagine that public companies CEOs saying that they were depressed or had depression, someone would immediately question their competence. Right? So it’s still not okay. And that’s what the Chopra Foundation is working on. 

“The incidence of these issues is really massively underreported because people don’t talk about it. We know that there are about a billion people globally that are affected by these conditions, whether it’s depression or addiction, or eating disorders. But a billion is a reported number. What’s the unreported number? It’s huge.”

Along with building awareness, there are other challenges with psychedelics in the business subsector that Cybin and other companies are working in. “There’s lots of enthusiasm, and lots of awareness,” Drysdale said. “But we step outside of that bubble and there’s still plenty of people that either is scared of psychedelics because of misinformation in the past, or they have a completely wrong view of them. Or they’re unaware.”

The misinformation that’s come from the War on Drugs has really “done a fair bit of damage to the reputation of psychedelics,” Drysdale said. “They’ve really been lumped in with all drugs like all drugs are bad. We were chatting with a scientist recently who was an advisor to a national regulatory body, which was a body that approves drugs. And the scientist’s first reaction was that psilocybin was toxic and addictive. Of course, it’s the opposite of both of those things. If you’ve got people in influence like that, people in important positions that are misinformed, then we clearly still got a lot of work to do.”

“What we are doing is trying to change mindsets, and that requires investment from the patients,” Drysdale said during a fireside chat on February 23 with Chopra. “We are not good at investing in ourselves. It’s easier to go take a pill from the pharmacy than to spend time in treatment and learn from it. We got some work to do in educating and informing folks about how best to take care of themselves.”

Chopra said that the challenge in using psychedelics is to transport the experiences from the spiritual healing traditions to the totally scientific approach. “Bring the traditions and the science together, and not do away with the context, the ritual,” he said. “Our collaboration (with Cybin) right now is for research and public awareness. All of you listening in the world get involved. There is a lot that the world is unaware of.”

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