BERLIN – Biotech startup Atai Life Sciences, which is exploring the use of psychedelic treatments for depression, anxiety and addiction, on Wednesday said that it had raised $157 million from investors to develop its drugs pipeline
A source close to the matter said the funding round had valued Atai at about $2 billion, adding that the company was considering floating on the U.S. stock market in May. The financing was led by existing backers – co-founder Christian Angermayer and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel – as well as new investor Woodline Partners.
Angermayer is a vocal advocate of the mental health benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin – the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms – while Atai, which he co-founded in 2018, describes itself as a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company.
Also taking part in the so-called Series D round were Fearless Ventures, Falcon Edge Capital, Pura Vida Pro LLC, Catalio Capital Management, Subversive Capital and Highline Capital. (Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Nadine Schimroszik Editing by Emma Thomasson and David Goodman).
The proceeds from this financing will support the expansion and development of the Company’s diverse drug candidate pipeline and enabling technologies. In addition, the financing will provide the necessary runway to continue advancing its current clinical developments, as well as scale its experienced team in order to continue delivering key milestones.
“This marks a monumental moment for atai; we continue on our mission challenging the current way mental health conditions are treated. We have become better equipped than ever to accelerate the development of more efficacious treatments,” said Florian Brand, CEO & co-founder of atai. “With support from our investors, we are determined to improve care and innovate.”
“To achieve our goal of developing alternative treatments for mental health disorders, we must empower the world with our vision for the future of care,” said Christian Angermayer. “Moments such as this show the importance of our work. It is a step forward, and we thank those continuing to drive this vision so that patients may eventually live more fulfilled lives.”
“We are excited to continue supporting atai, the only company in neuropsychiatry today that is thoughtfully pursuing platform diversity alongside scientific depth. The company is well-positioned to deliver on the vision of its founders by creating a new wave of therapies for patients in need” said Jason Camm, Managing Director and Chief Medical Officer of Thiel Capital.
“There is a need for more efficacious treatments to address mental health disorders,” said Matthew Katten, Portfolio Manager at Woodline Partners. “We believe atai has built a leading position in this space and we are excited to partner with them to drive innovation for improved mental health patient outcomes.”