Billionaire Peter Thiel Invests in Psychedelic Drug Development

The mental health treatments being used around the world sometimes seem to be doing more harm than good to their consumers, with patients often becoming either addicted to their treatments or treatment resistant. Atai Life Sciences cofounder Florian Brand states that only 50% of individuals respond to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which is the most common depression and anxiety treatment. In addition, this approach can take up to three months for an individual to notice any changes in their symptoms, and individuals have a 33% probability of their bodies resisting the treatment.

Backed by its founders, Atai Life Sciences believes that psychedelics may help. Currently, the firm is developing mental health treatment drugs that include psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine. The company, which was launched in 2018, announced last month that it had raised $125 million in new funding from investors such as Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and Facebook investor.

Brand explains that the company’s aim is to fast track mental health innovation in a responsible way. He adds that his interest in the psychedelic treatments stem from personal mental health experiences. He explains that he suffered from severe anxiety and was treated with psychotherapy but adds that, while it may have worked for him, many others do not respond to the treatment options available.

The firm owns 10 other companies that each work on a different compound designed to help treat mental health conditions. Compass Pathways, one of the companies operating on this decentralized strategy for drug development, is developing a psilocybin treatment. This psychedelic substance is effective in unlocking an individual’s trauma that resulted in a mental health issue, thus allowing the cause to be explored further in therapy.

Another company is working on a drug that is akin to esketamine, which is currently used to manage depression. The drug is arketamine, which can be given at home as it gives rise to less of a hallucinogenic effect.

One of the company’s other firms is working with ibogaine, which has the potential to be used in the treatment of an addiction to opioid. The psychoactive compound occurs naturally in the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga, an African shrub.

Brand also explains that Atai is focused on developing drugs that are tailored to treat mental health conditions differently in different individuals. The company is currently developing tracking biomarkers, which will help indicate the type of help that a patient requires.

Additionally, the company is working on making its drugs more affordable. The reason behind this is because a majority of people with depression cannot afford treatments that are out of pocket.

Atai isn’t the only company in the psychedelics sector though. Other players are also taking bold steps in this industry. For example, Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) is hard at work developing pharmaceutical products from psychedelic substances, and the company also has an interest in the functional mushroom segment.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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