Psychedelics (also called hallucinogens) are powerful mind-altering substances that can temporarily induce hallucinations by affecting the serotonin receptors in the brain responsible for controlling the senses. Popular psychedelics include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD/acid), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and ketamine. Psychedelics have been used in religious settings for thousands of years, but developed a social stigma in the 1960’s due to widespread recreational use by “hippies” and youth involved in counter-cultural and anti-war movements in the US and beyond. These substances were finally made illegal in the US in 1970. Fifty years later, psychedelics are re-entering the mainstream as a potential breakthrough for various hard-to-treat mental health conditions, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). A May 2019 approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a ketamine-derivative substance (in therapeutic settings) has raised the possibilities of more widespread commercialization of psychedelics. Since then, the nascent industry—still mostly in the research stage—has garnered significant investor interest, some of whom are anticipating a cannabis-like boom.
Heightened demand for mental health treatments:
In June 2020:
- 4X higher rates of depression (vs Q2 2019)
- 3X higher rates of anxiety (vs Q2 2019)
- 2X higher rates of suicidal ideation (vs 2018)
Pandemic restrictions forced psychedelic clinics to adopt telemedicine:
Field Trip: Launched virtual psychedelic therapy services through its online platform.
Mindbloom: Launched fully virtually administered ketamine therapy sessions.
A majority of the businesses in the psychedelic industry focus on research and development (R&D), studying the benefits of psychedelic substances and conducting preclinical and clinical research. Other segments—such as cultivation, clinics, and delivery platforms—have started to evolve only recently, driven by the advancements in R&D and positive developments in the regulatory landscape. So in addition to R&D focused leaders Compass Pathways and MindMed, the industry is now seeing growth in vertically integrated psychedelic players such as Field Trip, Numinus, New Wave, and others listed in the table below.
Having advanced their lead drugs to Phase 2b clinical trials, Compass Pathways and MindMed can be safely considered the for-profit pioneers in psychedelic research. And in some cases, it could be said that psychedelic medicine companies might prioritize financial stability over groundbreaking research with a majority of the companies covered in this industry hub having pursued relatively early-stage listings, following a strategy employed by cannabis companies.
Looking at the industry as a whole, capital is concentrated with the four Nasdaq-listed companies: Compass and MindMed as well as their relatively younger peers ATAI Life sciences and GH Research. Other disruptors like Field Trip, Core One Labs, Silo Pharma, and Bright Minds are also eyeing Nasdaq-listings or uplistings with the hope of accelerating growth via enhanced investor visibility.
Among the privately held companies, Beckley Psytech and Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals—which develop psychedelic-inspired medicines for neuropsychiatric conditions, have raised the most cash within the range of USD 30-40 million in venture funding.
Vancouver-based Numinus Wellness operates as a mental health and wellness company creating ecosystems of solutions around psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The company is focused on three areas: 1) Health–psychedelic therapy clinics, 2) Research and development (R&D)–supporting pharma companies to host studies, develop medical and therapeutic protocols, and influence regulatory approval for psychedelic clinical trials, and 3) Bioscience–testing, selling, and distributing psychedelic substances.
Numinus has been expanding its clinical network through a series of acquisitions. It operates a total of 13 clinics, as of June 2022, which offer ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, special access to psilocybin and MDMA (pending approval by Health Canada), and compassionate access trials for psilocybin and MDMA. In June 2022, eight clinics were added to its network via the acquisition of fellow psychedelic company Novamind . In July 2021, the company announced the acquisition of the Neurology Centre of Toronto (NCT) to set up a Centre for Psychedelic Neurology and acquired a pair of Montreal clinics from Quebec-based psychedelic company Mindspace in December 2020.
The company operates a 7,000 sq ft research and testing laboratory center and, through its subsidiary, Salvation Labs, maintains a Dealer’s Licence issued by Health Canada, to possess, buy, and sell MDMA, psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, and mescaline.
In October 2020, Numinus became the first company to complete the legal harvest of magic mushrooms in Canada for research and development purposes. The company is traded on the TSX Venture Exchanges under the symbol NUMI.
Cultivation/ Synthesis :
Research and Development:
The psychedelic industry has not yet attracted major interest from conventional pharmaceutical companies. This reluctance could be due to psychedelic therapies’ tendency to require a single round of treatment as well as financial, legal, and reputational risks. Partnerships and acquisitions are highly likely in the near future, however, as psychedelic companies progress toward latter stages of drug development.
No investor data is available