Beckley Psytech Secures $50 Million Investment from atai to Advance Short-Duration Psychedelic Therapies

Partnership aims to accelerate the development of intranasal 5-MeO-DMT and psilocin formulations to treat depression and alcoholism

Beckley Psytech Limited said Jan. 4 it has received a $50 million strategic investment from atai Life Sciences to accelerate the development of short-duration psychedelics as potential rapid-acting medicines for neuropsychiatric conditions.

The collaboration involves Beckley Psytech’s two clinical-stage psychedelic candidates: BPL-003 and ELE-101. BPL-003 is an intranasal formulation of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT), while ELE-101 is an intravenous formulation of psilocin, the primary component of psilocybin.

Christian Angermayer, founder and chairman of atai, noted the potential of short-duration psychedelics in offering clinical benefits in a more efficient and scalable manner, potentially increasing patient access.

The collaboration aims to integrate BPL-003 and ELE-101 into atai’s mental health innovation platform, creating a portfolio of psychedelic compounds with prior clinical evidence, he said.

Florian Brand, co-founder and CEO of atai, emphasized the diverse pharmacology of their drug candidates to address the varying needs of neuropsychiatric patient populations.

“Looking ahead to the next 12 months, adding to our already-strong pipeline of potential catalysts, we anticipate this investment will lead to several additional meaningful clinical readouts, including topline results from the BPL-003 Phase 2b study, expected in the second half of 2024,” Brand said.

BPL-003 is currently in development for treatment resistant depression (TRD) and alcohol-use disorder (AUD), with three clinical trials underway. The first trial is a global, multi-site, double-blind, randomized Phase IIb study in people living with TRD, evaluating the effects of a medium and high dose of BPL-003 against an active placebo comparator in 225 patients with moderate-to-severe TRD.

In the Phase 1 trial, participants experienced profound psychedelic experiences after receiving medium and high dosages of BPL-003.

ELE-101, Beckley Psytech’s second candidate, is designed for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Initial results from the Phase I/IIa study are expected in the first half of 2024.

Under the agreement, Beckley Psytech will remain an independent, privately owned company, with atai owning 35.5% of the company.