In a first for the UK, an investment fund dedicated to psychedelic healthcare has been launched.
The new fund comes as recent rigorous clinical trials have demonstrated psychedelics’ potential to treat unmet needs in mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, addiction, and anxiety.
It has been launched by London-based Venture Capital Neo Kuma Ventures which has already attracted millions of pounds in investment, has no set cap and will continue to draw venture capital through the first half of 2021.
A new era for medicine
Neo Kuma Ventures, will use the fund to invest in “the most exciting, high quality and scientifically sound players in the industry”, with its investment thesis focused on clinically proven psychedelic medicines which it believes will hit the market in the next five years.
Neo Kuma Ventures co-founder Sean Mclintock said: “As the medical benefits of psychedelics become more well-known and regulators steadily increase their embrace of these types of drugs, the industry is set for a boom. While much of the conversation on psychedelics is taking place in the US, Europe is the true hub of the burgeoning psychedelic healthcare sector.
“We look forward to investing in the most exciting, high quality and scientifically-sound European players in the industry to facilitate their ground-breaking research.”
Last year Neo Kuma’s founders backed ATAI Life Sciences AG, a part owner of COMPASS Pathways, which recently became the first psychedelic medicine company to float on Nasdaq and is now trading at a market cap of $1.98bn.
Neo Kuma is investing in the most promising companies with prior investments including ATAI Life Sciences, Bright Minds, and Beckley Psytech among others. The fundraising underscores the growing appeal in the re-emergence of psychedelic medicine following the approval of several previously outlawed drugs to treat mental illnesses.
Parallels to the rise of psychedelic healthcare have been drawn to the medicinal cannabis industry which in the US surged from an estimated total value of $2bn in 2014 to an estimated $35bn in 2020.
Last year a new ketamine nasal spray by Johnson & Johnson was approved for use in the US and Europe to treat adults living with treatment-resistant depression. According to Dr David Nutt at Imperial College London, this breakthrough marked the first major advance in the treatment of depression since the late 1980s.
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recently designated psilocybin therapy — a hallucinogenic substance found in magic mushrooms – as a “breakthrough therapy” in treating major depressive disorder (MDD), and last year, the NHS in the UK started prescribing its first cannabis medicine for epilepsy.