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Clerkenwell Partners with Leading Preclinical CRO Transpharmation to Advance Psychedelic Clinical Trials in Europe

Clerkenwell Health has signed a preclinical research agreement with Transpharmation to design clinical and preclinical trials side by side.

  • Transpharmation is a UK-based pre-clinical contract research organisation (CRO) for preclinical neuroscience, with laboratories in the UK, Ireland and Poland
  • Clerkenwell Health is the first CRO specialised in clinical psychedelic research in Europe
  • The partnership will allow both clinical and preclinical trials to run side by side offering a one-stop shop for drug developers and accelerating clinical psychedelic research
  • The deal highlights the UK as a research hub providing services to drug developers and advances the UK’s leading position in clinical psychedelic research

Building on a multi-million contract with an international psychedelic bio-tech company, Clerkenwell Health signs a preclinical research agreement with Transpharmation paving the way for the UK to lead in psychedelic medicine. Globally, more than 50 psychedelic drug developers are looking to bring complex compounds to market under the heavy scrutiny of regulators and investors, while in the UK, 58% of the public now support changes to the law to permit terminally ill patients to access psilocybin-assisted therapy.

The market for contract research organisation (CRO) services is expected to grow dramatically in the next 5 years, reaching $86.5 billion by 2026 from $53.2 billion in 2021. As the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) reported, the UK has the capability to be a world leader in clinical trials. The UK’s current position in the psychedelic space is promising and aligns with the government’s UK Life Sciences Vision of developing tools to address mental health conditions.

Clerkenwell Health is the first European commercial contract research organisation specialised in offering support for research with psychedelic compounds. The preclinical research agreement between Clerkenwell and Transpharmation highlights the UK’s position in advancing psychedelic medicine by accelerating clinical psychedelic research.

Transpharmation is a global leader in translational biology and the go-to contract research organisation for preclinical neuroscience. Established by scientists more than 10 years ago, Transpharmation continues to be scientifically-led and is committed to furthering UK leadership in bioscience for the benefit of human health.

The partnership brings together preclinical and clinical trials providing a turnkey solution to drug developers in the psychedelic field interested in bringing new psychedelic compounds into the market. By offering integrated and coordinated support and methodology for all stages from preclinical to Phase III trials, the partnership provides a one-stop shop for drug developers; ensuring a clear pathway for translating preclinical study success into positive outcomes for patients.

Having a deep heritage in the psychedelic field, both companies bring a wealth of expertise to the table. Transpharmation previously conducted preclinical trials on ketamine and psilocybin as well as working with Compass Pathways, whereas Clerkenwell has worked with a number of psychedelic drug developers from Canada and Europe and is backed by world-leading clinical researchers in the psychedelic field.

The Clerkenwell team is led by CEO Tom McDonald, a former Accenture pharmaceutical specialist, and CSO Dr Henry Fisher, who previously worked at Beckley Foundation while clinical operations are led by Helen MacAskill, an expert in delivering complex trials including the first Sativex trials in the UK.

The Transpharmation team extends from its UK headquarters at Discovery Park, Kent, to its laboratories in Dublin and in Poland. The team is led by co-founders CEO Dr Mark Duxon, former CEO of well known CRO companies in France and Singapore, and CSO Dr Neil Upton, author of several patents, over 200 publications and a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society.

Clerkenwell Health offers a detailed understanding of therapy and psychedelic medicines in addition to its upcoming Centre of Excellence to deliver clinical trials while Transpharmation’s breadth of neuroscience experience and expertise in well validated behavioural and molecular assays make them the ideal partner for Clerkenwell in delivering preclinical trials.

Commenting on the partnership the Clerkenwell CEO Tom McDonald said: “It’s fantastic to formalise our relationship with such a well-established preclinical testing specialist. Transpharmation’s expertise in the neuroscience and psychedelics field perfectly complements the work we are doing at Clerkenwell and ensures that we can provide our clients with the full suite of CRO services from early stage regulatory advisory through to trial design and delivery at any stage of the drug development life cycle.”

Mark Duxon, the CEO of Transpharmation said, “As a UK-based and scientist-led company, we are proud of our part in keeping the UK at the forefront of this important research area. Importantly, our clients around the world are choosing to work with us and UK companies for the strength of science; our partnership with Clerkenwell itself was enabled by a multi-million dollar international contract. The future for UK bioscience, with benefits to human health and drug discovery, is extremely strong.”

The partnership further solidifies the UK as a research hub where life sciences companies provide services to drug developers and aligns with the government’s strategy in accelerating the delivery of innovation to patients.

For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Alastair Moore, Clerkenwell Health



Nicola Brown, Transpharmation press office


About Clerkenwell Health

Clerkenwell Health is an innovative, UK-based mental health start-up building a platform to accelerate patients’ access to a range of psychedelic-assisted therapies over the coming years. Clerkenwell is focused on helping its clients generate the clinical data required to mainstream these exciting treatment methodologies with doctors and regulators alike.

The team is led by CEO Tom McDonald, a former Accenture pharmaceutical specialist with a focus on patient-centric care and CSO Dr Henry Fisher, a chemist and drug policy expert. Patient therapy is led by Dr Sara Tai, a clinical psychologist, a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester and an expert in psychotherapy in clinical trials of psychedelic medicine.

About Transpharmation

Transpharmation is a pre-clinical contract research organisation (CRO) established in 2011 by Chief Scientific Officer Dr Neil Upton and CEO Dr Mark Duxon and continues to be led by scientists. Transpharmation is headquartered alongside scientific leaders at Discovery Park science park in Kent, UK, and also has laboratories at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and at the University of Warmia & Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland.

Transpharmation is recognised by drug developers worldwide for researching and delivering life-changing medicines.

Transpharmation provides pre-clinical CRO services for the following research areas:

• Pain – neuropathic, inflammatory

• Neurodegenerative disorders

• Depression/anxiety

• Schizophrenia

• Cognitive disorders

• Molecular Biomarkers

• Sleep/wake disturbances

• QEEG (neural oscillations)

• Neuroinflammation