Entrepreneurship

Peter Thiel-backed psychedelic drug maker aims to raise $100M in IPO

Read more at nypost.com

Psychedelic drugmaker ATAI Life Science, which backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, said it is planning to raise $100 million in an initial public offering.

The Berlin-based company — which tests drugs like ketamine, DMT and psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” to treat depression — raised an aggregate of $362.3 million from private investors so far, according to its S-1 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission submitted late Tuesday.

The company said it is planning to sell its shares on the NASDAQ under the symbol ATAI. An IPO date has not been set.

Aside from depression, ATAI is also developing psychedelics and other drugs to treat anxiety, opioid addiction, post traumatic stress disorder and cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia, among things, according to the company website.

ATAI, which has roughly 50 staff in offices in Berlin, New York and San Diego, is partnered with 14 companies focusing on drug development and other technologies. ATAI helps the scientists raise money, work with regulators and conduct clinical trials in exchange for a majority stake in the drugs and tech they are developing. So far, none of the company’s drugs have been formally approved by regulators, however.

Mazatec psilocybin mushrooms harvested from their growing tubs.
Mazatec psilocybin mushrooms harvested from their growing tubs May 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.
Denver Post via Getty Images

Thiel, a PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor, who prominently supported President Trump’s 2016 campaign and funded the downfall of snarky blog, Gawker, made a $12 million investment in ATAI through his venture capital firm, Thiel Capital, in November.

“ATAI’s great virtue is to take mental illness as seriously as we should have been taking all illness all along,” Thiel told CNBC at the time. “The company’s most valuable asset is its sense of urgency.”

Founded in 2018 by entrepreneurs Christian Angermayer, Florian Brand, Lars Wilde and Srinivas Rao, ATAI has invested in Compass Pathways, which has developed a synthetic version of psilocybin.

Compass Pathways, which Thiel has also invested in, listed on NASDAQ in September and now has a valuation of around $1.3 billion.

Read more at nypost.com

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