The main story this week was the publication of the North American Psychedelics Index, on which the much-anticipated, inaugural Psychedelics ETF will be based on. There were no major surprises in terms of the make-up of the Index, which is discussed in further detail below. The ETF is expected to begin trading on Jan 27th on the NEO Exchange, under ticker symbol PSYK.
In other news, MindMed has commenced a Phase I clinical trial evaluating the co-administration of MDMA and LSD, known colloquially as candyflipping. The trial, to be undertaken at the Liechti Lab in Switzerland, hopes to enroll 24 participants. You can learn more about this trial in our new resource: the psychedelics drug development tracker.
In terms of financings, Cybin has announced a $20m bought deal offering, with units priced at $2.25. Mind Cure and Psyched Wellness also announced bought deal offerings this week, to raise $20m and $3m, respectively.
Psychedelic Sector News
Which Companies Will Be in the First Psychedelic ETF?
In December, we broke the news that the first Psychedelics ETF was set to launch in the New Year. Yesterday, we shared the first details of which companies are likely to be included in the ETF, as the underlying Index was published. The Index’s constituents were not surprising, with leading psychedelics companies such as COMPASS Pathways and MindMed featuring prominently.
Of the 17 companies included at present, a handful are not primarily associated with psychedelics; the most obvious example being Johnson & Johnson. The inclusion of the multinational behemoth is due to their esketamine nasal spray product, Spravato, which is FDA-approved for treatment-resistant depression. The product has received mixed reviews, with the UK’s NICE refusing to recommend the medication due to its high cost.
The Index has a number of conditions that limit the ability of large companies to dominate the overall allocation, which can be consulted in further detail in our article. The ETF will list on NEO Exchange on 27th Jan 2021, according to a press release issued by Horizons today.
MindMed Commences MDMA and LSD Clinical Trial
MindMed has commenced a Phase I clinical trial that’s part of a program seeking to understand the effects of co-administering MDMA and LSD, known colloquially as “candyflipping.” It is thought that MDMA may increase ‘positive’ subjective effects, and as such its co-administration with LSD may reduce the ‘negative’ subjective effects sometimes precipitated by the latter.
The Phase I study is placebo-controlled, with a 4-period crossover design, and will be undertaken at the Liechti Lab in Basel, Switzerland. 24 participants are expected to be involved. You can learn more about the trial via the ClinicalTrials.gov website.
PharmaTher Licences Ketamine Formulation
PharmaTher has entered into an agreement with the National Health Research Institutes for the development and commercialisation of a patented ketamine-and-betaine formulation, dubbed KETABET. The company hopes the formulation may serve as a next-gen ketamine treatment for mental health, neurological, and pain disorders.
ATAI Targets Schizophrenia
Ahead of their expected IPO, ATAI has acquired a majority stake in Recognify, which hopes to develop drugs to treat schizophrenia. The terms of the deal, though not disclosed, are reportedly in the “double-digit millions.” Read CNBC’s coverage here.
Havn Life R&D VP and Former Co-CEO Departs
Havn Life announced the departure of Susan Chapelle, who served as Co-CEO and Executive VP of Research & Development.
Health Canada: BetterLife’s 2-bromo-LSD Not a Controlled Substance
In a press release, BetterLife explained: “Health Canada has confirmed that 2-bromo-LSD is not a controlled substance.” However, it should be noted that the simple fact that 2-bromo-LSD is not a controlled substance does not guarantee that BetterLife’s resultant product will not be scheduled, or otherwise controlled.
Financings and IPOs
In October 2020, Cybin turned heads when it closed a $45m round. This week, the company announced a bought deal offering to raise $20m, with units priced at $2.25 each; significantly up from the $0.75 unit price offered in their October raise. Mind Cure also announced a bought deal offering this week, which is set to raise $20m; and, Psyched Wellness is set to raise $3m, also via a bought deal.
Cybin Announces $20m Bought Deal Offering
Cybin has announced a $20m bought deal offering, with 8.9m units priced at $2.25 each. Along with one common share, each unit also contains half a common share purchase warrant, with a strike price of $3.25 for 36 months (subject to acceleration).
Mind Cure Announces $20m Bought Deal Offering
Mind Cure upsized a previously announced bought deal offering to $20m today, with units priced at $0.60.
Numinus Announces Listing of Warrants
Numinus is listing 12.7m warrants on the TSX Venture Exchange, in relation to the $17m offering that closed Dec 29th. The warrants are to be listed under ticker symbol NUMI.WS, and are available for trading from market open, Monday Jan 25th.
Psyched Wellness Gets New OTCQB Ticker (PSYCF); Announces $3m Bought Deal
The company’s OTCQB ticker symbol has changed from DCNPF to PSYCF, following its RTO with Duncan Park Holdings. The company also announced a $3m bought deal, led by Canaccord Genuity with units priced at $0.31.
An Interview with Nakul Raval, Neurobiology Research Unit
Researchers continue to shed light on the mechanisms through which psychedelics affect the brain and body, and provide relief from indications such as depression and anxiety. Much of this work is being conducted as part of preclinical research programs, which often receives less attention than clinical programs and their associated trials.
As such, we spoke to Nakul Raval, a PhD student at the Neurobiology Research Unit (NRU) of Copenhagen University Hospital, about his research and how it may contribute to our understanding of psychedelics.
Raval’s primary research interest pertains to the preclinical evaluation of various radioactive agents (radiotracers) with regard to their efficacy in measuring proteins. Nakul uses these radiotracers to image proteins in the brains of live animals by using positron emission tomography (PET), while autoradiography is used on histological sections.
He also has a keen interest in the molecular pathways associated with the pharmacological effects of psychedelics, borne out of a broader interest in serotonin that has been fostered by his supervisor (Gitte Moos Knudsen, senior author on the paper discussed herein), and his uncle – a practicing psychiatrist in India.
In their latest research, for which Nakul was the first author, the team at NRU sought to investigate the ability of psilocybin to induce changes in synaptic plasticity (using synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A, or SV2A, as a biomarker) and 5-HT2A receptor density. The study used a trio of radiotracers to identify changes in SV2A and 5-HT2A agonist/antagonist binding in porcine brains (n=24) through autoradiography.
Bloomberg: Psychedelic Therapy Schools Are Popping Up Like Mushrooms
“For hundreds or thousands of dollars, you can get certified to administer mind-altering—and some say, mind-healing—drugs,” writes Michelle Lhooq for Bloomberg.
Stifel Initiates Coverage of 2 Psychedelics Companies
Stifel GMP announced their initiation of coverage of Cybin and Field Trip in a 39-page report titled Psychedelics – A possible disrupter to legacy treatments… This report provides insight into how an investment bank characterises the psychedelics industry, and two constituent companies.
Stay Informed in 2021
We can only expect the rate of change and development in the psychedelic space to continue accelerating in 2021. Stay informed via our various platforms and channels…
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