Clerkenwell Health raises £2.1m to test new wave of psychedelic treatments • TechCrunch

Clerkenwell Health, a clinical research organization specializing in psychedelics, has raised £2.1m in seed funding, bringing its total to date to £2.5m, which will be used to get the London startup up and running.

Investors include Lionheart Ventures, Convergence Partners and Exceptional Ventures, which was founded by Paolo Pio (former MD Europe at Joyance Partners) and Matt Cooper (who was part of the founding team of Capital One Bank in the US, co-founded of Tandem Bank and Chairman of Octopus Capital Group).

Claiming to be Europe’s first commercial facility dedicated to psychedelic-assisted treatments, Toronto-based life sciences company Psyence will now begin its first trials at the Clerkenwell site in London, following approval from the MHRA.

The clinical trial will assess the efficacy and safety of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy versus psychotherapy alone for the treatment of adjustment disorder due to an incurable cancer diagnosis. Figures from the UK Office for National Statistics indicate that the risk of suicide for terminally ill patients is twice that of the general population.

As we previously reported, drugs previously relegated to underground communities and rave culture – drugs like ketamine, MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) and psilocybin – are now being studied to develop treatments to treat everything from PTSD to cumulative headaches.

Tom McDonald, chief executive of Clerkenwell Health, said in a statement: “The UK is extremely well placed to become a leader in psychedelic research and trials thanks to its globally competitive clinical trial framework, which is why we chose to start our operations in London.”

Most research related to psychedelics is currently done in universities and hospitals. Other psychedelic drug facilities are being built (Compass Pathways x South London and Maudsley NHS Trust), but they tend to be built by drug developers, so they are fixed to a single company or association. Instead, Clerkenwell Health says it will work with multiple drug developers.

Paolo Pio, Co-Founder and General Partner of Exceptional Ventures, added: “Psychedelics hold great promise in the treatment of mental disorders, but it is a complex and highly regulated field. The founders of Clerkenwell Health have years of experience in this field and we believe they are the best in the UK and Europe.”
Clerkenwell Health also works with North American drug discovery and biotech companies, notably Otsuka Pharmaceutical-backed Mindset, which focuses on treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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