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UK Set to Become Hub of Psychedelic Research, as British Startup Gears-up to Run Trials for International Psychedelic Drug Developers

Clerkenwell Health closed its initial round of funding to launch a clinical research organisation with key hires and a partnership with Manchester University

  • The launch of Clerkenwell Health further positions the UK as an attractive destination for international psychedelic drug developers looking to conduct trials
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with Manchester University, to work with leaders in the field of psychedelic-assisted therapy
  • Dr Sara Tai, a leading light psychedelic-assisted therapy, signs on as the Principle Investigator for Clerkenwell’s first Phase II trial.
  • Clerkenwell Health’s Advisory Board now includes healthcare venture specialists, pharma veterans and leading psychedelic researchers

After launching in January this year, Clerkenwell Health closed its first round of funding from a mix of British angel investors and psychedelic focussed VCs including Vine Ventures, and the team have now signed their first major clients and institutional partnerships.

Bolstered by significant regulatory and pharmaceutical experience, through its world-class team, advisory board and the expert team of commercial advisors, Clerkenwell Health will help psychedelic drug developers get their treatments to market at pace.

The new advisory board includes venture specialist Ladi Greenstreet, pharma veteran Ann Hayes, braincare entrepreneur Dan Murray-Serter and the research team at Manchester University will be led by leading researcher Dr Sarah Tai.

The rapid roll-out of clinical trials will be made possible by a partnership with The University of Manchester, who have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Clerkenwell Health to launch the team’s first clinical trial in late 2021.

CEO of Clerkenwell Health, Tom McDonald said that, “our first round of funding was a huge success and we are raising a larger Seed round over the coming months. The demand for psychedelic-assisted therapy trials in the UK has exceeded even our expectations. We have accelerated the roll out of services and trials by expanding our team.”

This roll out of services has begun with the recruitment of Helen McAskill, an experienced senior Clinical Research Director who has held leadership positions across a range of traditional CROs and mental health organisations.

McDonald is confident that in the near future, it will be commonplace for patients suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions to receive controlled doses of psychedelic medicine in combination with structured talking therapy programmes.

With one in four people in the UK suffering from some form of mental health condition, there is an urgent need to develop new and more effective treatments. The UK is becoming one of the global leaders in psychedelic-assisted therapies to help address the expected rise in mental health illness triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having designed their own trial examining different doses of psilocybin and digitally-supported therapy for the treatment of depression, the Clerkenwell team are now providing advisory and operational support to drug developers on the market. The team plans to help many more companies gain regulatory approvals for their treatments across a range of conditions that currently have suboptimal treatment methodologies.

The London-based startup is backed by established drug policy entrepreneurs from The Hanway Company and world-leading clinical researchers. The senior management team includes CEO Tom McDonald, CSO Dr Henry Fisher and Dr Sara Tai.

For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Alastair Moore


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 generating 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. More at