Peter Thiel backs Berlin startup ATAI Life Sciences in $125M round to develop psychedelics treatment for people suffering from mental health disorders
Almost a billion people suffer from mental health problems worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. ATAI Life Sciences is a biotechnology startup founded in 2018 in response to the clear and growing unmet needs of mental health patients worldwide. ATAI leverages a decentralized, technology- and data-driven platform model to serve millions of people suffering from mental health disorders.
Today, ATAI announced it has closed a $125 million Series C financing round. The round was co-led by Apeiron Investment Group, the family office of ATAI’s founder Christian Angermayer, Peter Thiel, and Catalio Capital Management. Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire who co-founded Palantir and PayPal, made a 10 million euro ($12 million) investment in ATAI Life Sciences through his venture firm, Thiel Capital. Other existing investors participated in the round.
Commenting on the funding, Thiel said, “ATAI’s great virtue is to take mental illness as seriously as we should have been taking all illness all along. The company’s most valuable asset is its sense of urgency.”
ATAI said it will use the new capital infusion to fund pre-clinical and clinical development of ATAI’s existing mental health programs, to expand its drug candidate pipeline and further advance ATAI’s platform technologies. The Company expects the proceeds to provide the necessary runway to accomplish several key clinical milestones including Phase 2 data readouts for arketamine in treatment-resistant depression at Perception Neuroscience and ibogaine in opioid use disorder at DemeRx, as well as the completion of Phase 1 and initiation of Phase 2 trials at four other programs.
Founded by Christian Angermayer, Florian Brand, and Lars Christian Wilde, ATAI aims to responsibly accelerate the development of new medicines across its business entities, seeking to effectively treat and ultimately heal mental health disorders.
“We are grateful to have the strong support of both new and existing investors, comprised of forward-thinking individuals that share in our belief that innovation in mental healthcare is urgently needed and possible,” said Florian Brand, CEO & Co-Founder of ATAI Life Sciences. “We believe that our psychedelic and non-psychedelic compounds have compelling therapeutic promise based upon a growing body of scientific evidence. This round of funding is another step towards our vision to effectively treat and ultimately prevent mental health disorders, bridging the gap between what the mental health system currently provides and what patients need.”
“With COVID-19 only accentuating the failures of existing standards of care, we are at an inflection point when it comes to seriously addressing this global mental health crisis,” said Christian Angermayer, Founder of ATAI. “I’m excited to continue my support of ATAI alongside an impressive group of investors. I’m proud of the best-in-class technology, tools and top-tier talent that has been established at ATAI to developing promising therapeutics to treat mental health disorders. ATAI’s progress to date has been astounding, and I’m thrilled at what is yet to come.”