Psyched: First Active Psychedelics ETF Hits NYSE, Compass Dives Into Novel Molecules, Atai Subsidiary Launches Phase 2a Trial

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AdvisorShares Launches First NYSE-listed Actively-managed Psychedelics ETF

On Thursday, AdvisorShares launched the country’s first actively managed ETF covering the psychedelics sector.

The AdvisorShares Psychedelics ETF (NYSE: PSIL), launched on the NYSE Arca market, providing exposure to biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies that the firm deems are “leading the way in this nascent industry.”

So far, this is the third ETF covering the psychedelics sector in North America. The Horizons Psychedelic Stock Index ETF (NEO: PSYK) was first to launch in January of this year, followed by Defiance’s Next Gen Altered Experience ETF (NYSE: PSY), which broke ground as the first passive U.S.-listed ETF in the sector.

Dan Ahrens, CEO of AdvisorShares and portfolio manager of PSIL, said he believes that by investing in select companies in the psychedelics space, his firm can provide a compelling long-term investment opportunity. Still, the CEO said this is also an area of the marketplace in its early innings.

“We feel that our active-management and specialized approach can potentially help investors capture the early growth potential of psychedelics and its prominent promise on therapeutics and medical fields,” Ahrens added.

Compass Pathways Expands Portfolio Beyond Psilocybin Into Psychedelics 2.0

Compass Pathways (NASDAQ: CMPS) has purchased an intellectual property portfolio that includes patent applications for a variety of psychedelic and empathogenic substances.

This announcement marks an expanded strategy for the company, looking into other molecules beyond COMP360, its proprietary version of synthetic psilocybin, currently in phase 2 clinical trials.

The IP purchased was developed together with inventor Dr. Matthias Grill, founder and CEO of MiHKAL GmbH in Basel, Switzerland, who will be working with Compass on a research project to develop new product candidates.

The new substances include novel derivatives of known compounds, which attempt to increase confidence in therapeutic effects and safety profile while offering optimized characteristics.

“Chemistry still happens inside the flask and not on paper,” said Grill, who has synthesized psychedelic substances for a number of human research studies, including at the University of Basel and the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic.

Pasithea Therapeutics Goes Public On The Nasdaq With $24M IPO

Pasithea Therapeutics (NASDAQ: KTTA), a biotech focused on the research and discovery of new treatments in psychiatry, including ketamine therapy, launched a $24 million IPO on the Nasdaq under the symbol “KTTA.”

“Our successful IPO is testament to our work as a biotech company paving the way for new solutions to address how we treat mental health disorders,” Dr. Tiago Reis Marques, CEO and director of Pasithea told Benzinga, adding that the company plans to develop novel central nervous system drugs to solve psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Pasithea is targeting treatment-resistant depression and PTSD using ketamine infusions. The research will be conducted under the leadership of Professor Lawrence Steinman, a renowned neurologist and immunologist based at Stanford University and Reis Marques, who also serves as psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Imperial College and King’s College London.

The IPO offered 4.8 million units (of one share and one share purchase warrant) at a price of $5 per unit.

Pasithea shares opened on Wednesday at $4, dropping to $3.15 by the end of Friday’s trading session.

Enveric Closes Acquisition Of MagicMed Industries In $23 Million Transaction

On Friday, Enveric Biosciences (NASDAQ: ENVB) confirmed that its previously announced acquisition of MagicMed Industries has gone through.

Enveric issued the shareholders of MagicMed approximately 9.5 million shares. Now, Enveric shareholders own approximately 68% of the combined company, while MagicMed shareholders own approximately 32%. 

The new Enveric also received approximately CA$4 million ($3.1 million) in cash from the MagicMed treasury.

At a current stock price of $2.46 for Enveric shares, the transaction is valued at approximately $23 million.

As a result of the acquisition, Enveric will feature a new drug discovery and research arm with a strong focus on psychedelic drugs and cannabinoids.

Dr. Joseph Tucker, founder of MagicMed has become CEO of Enveric. David Johnson, Enveric’s former CEO, is being appointed executive chairman of the company.

Currently, Enveric is pushing preclinical work on CBD for radiation dermatitis and glioblastoma and is also researching a compound in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced pain.

With the acquisition of MagicMed, development-focused Enveric will feature a new R&D side, which includes several ongoing research programs into psychedelic substances like psilocybin and DMT.

Wesana Health And MAPS Team Up To Study MDMA For Traumatic Brain Injury

Wesana Health (CSE: WESA) (OTCQB: WSNAF) and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) are teaming up to analyze the effectiveness of MDMA-assisted therapy in the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The TBI-oriented company announced Monday that it has committed an initial $1.5 million to assess the viability of MDMA for treating a subset of conditions resulting from TBI that currently lack a cure or successful treatment, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

With the funding, MAPS will create a team to “evaluate the scope of unmet need for traumatic brain injury treatment and help to define terms of a desired joint venture between MAPS and Wesana.”

The proceeds will be used for legal support in drafting and finalizing a partnership agreement, business development and executive staff costs as well as other research-related expenses.

“Wesana is a serious, thoughtful and ethical company engaged in the development of psychedelic-assisted therapy. What Daniel [Carcillo, Wesana CEO] and his team are doing is in line with MAPS’ ethics, mission, values and scientific rigor,” said MAPS executive director Rick Doblin, Ph.D.

Perception Launches Phase 2a Trial on Arketamine

Perception Neuroscience, an Atai Life Sciences (NASDAQ: ATAI) subsidiary, is starting a Phase 2a clinical trial on PCN-101, its lead drug candidate.

The study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of a proprietary formulation of arketamine that could have a similar therapeutic action to ketamine in the treatment of depression, with less dissociative effects.

The Phase 2a trial is a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Three parallel arms will enroll 31 patients at multiple locations. Patients will receive either a placebo, a 30 mg dose, or a 60 mg dose of arketamine intravenously.

“We believe PCN-101 holds promise in helping such treatment-resistant patients, as a potential rapidly-acting antidepressant which can be administered at home,” said Terence Kelly, CEO of Perception Neuroscience.

The company said that non-clinical depression model studies in rodents suggest that arketamine could have more durable and potent effects than esketamine and potentially a more favorable safety and tolerability profile.

Resurgent Launches Survey Into The Effects Of Psychedelics In Traditional Contexts

Resurgent Biosciences, a subsidiary of Goodness Growth Holdings, Inc. (CSE: GDNS) (OTCQX: GDNSF) is launching a survey study that will look into the varying effects of entheogen and psychedelic experiences for therapeutic, religious and spiritual purposes.

The goal of the company is to understand the naturalistic use of entheogens and other substances typically used for healing in specific cultural and spiritual contexts.

The study’s approach seeks to complement current research into psychedelics, which is often done with synthetic substances (like MDMA, LSD or isolated psilocybin), in a strictly clinical context.

The observational pilot survey, which will be done online with one hundred anonymous subjects, has received approval from an independent Institutional review board registered with the Office for Human Research Protections at the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

The survey will help inform Resurgent on future developments into psychedelic-based therapies by collecting anonymous data from adults who self-report having participated in entheogen therapy centers and retreats during the last five years.

The survey is currently open for participation via this link.

Detroit Will Vote To Decriminalize Psychedelics

Detroit could soon decriminalize the personal use and possession of naturally-occurring psychedelics via a ballot vote to be held in November.

A local ballot will allow Detroiters to adopt an amendment to the 2019 Detroit City Code that would “decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults, and make the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.”

If voters approve it, Detroit would be added to the list of jurisdictions in Michigan to decriminalize the personal use of plant-derived psychedelics, which include Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County.

Awakn To Buy Ketamine Clinic in Norway

Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN) (OTCQB: AWKNF) has signed a binding agreement to acquire Axonklinikken AS, a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic in Norway. 

As part of the transaction Axon will be renamed as ‘Awakn Oslo AS’, and Axon’s majority shareholder Dr. Lowan Stewart will be appointed as regional director for the Nordic region and managing director of Awakn Oslo AS.

The acquisition comes as a first move into an ambitious expansion plan into Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, as well as the U.K. and Ireland.

“This acquisition will enable Awakn to accelerate the first element of our three-pronged revenue generation strategy: clinics in the UK and Europe, licensing partnership beyond the UK and Europe, and therapeutics commercialization,” said Anthony Tennyson, Awakn’s CEO.

As part of the acquisition, Awakn will issue 200,000 common shares of Awakn at a deemed price of $2.50 per share to the shareholders of Axon. Additional payments could come thereafter on the basis of specific milestones achieved by the Axon management, related to further expansion into the Nordic region.

© 2021 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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