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Oxfordshire psychedelic medicine innovator secures £58 million to drive research

17 August 2021
The Business Magazine article image for: Oxfordshire psychedelic medicine innovator secures £58 million to drive research

Oxfordshire-based psychedelic medicine innovator Beckley Psytech has secured £58 million in funding to fund its research programmes.

The Series B financing was initially set at $50m and was upsized to $80m due to overwhelming interest from investors to support Beckley Psytech in broadening and accelerating the clinical development of its innovative research pipeline.

Beckley Psytech wants to help patients suffering from neurological and psychiatric disorders by developing a pipeline of psychedelic compounds into licensed pharmaceutical medicines.

The latest round follows one last year where the company raised £3 million of Series A funding to develop a pipeline of psychedelic drugs into licensed pharmaceutical medicines for treating psychiatric and neurological diseases. Investors in that round include prominent British businessmen Jim Mellon and Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks.

Beckley Psytech will use the proceeds to complete the ongoing Phase 1b trial with low-dose psilocybin in patients suffering from SUNHA, a rare and debilitating headache condition estimated to affect 45,000 people in the US and Europe, and to initiate a Phase 1 dose-ranging study on a novel formulation of intranasal 5-MeO-DMT before starting a Phase 2 trial in Treatment Resistant Depression. The funding will also support the expansion of the company’s pipeline with unique and proprietary psychedelic compounds.

The financing round was led by Integrated, a healthcare focused venture capital company. The science-focused investor consortium includes Prime Movers Labs, which funds breakthrough scientific startups Adage Capital Management LP, a Boston based institutional investor; Palo Santo, Delphi VC, Leafy Tunnel, Negev Capital and existing investor Bicycle Day Ventures.

Cosmo Feilding Mellen, CEO of Beckley Psytech, said: “My life’s passion has been to unlock the therapeutic potential of psychedelics as I believe these compounds could help millions of people around the world. The progress Beckley Psytech has made in attracting exceptional talent to the team and advancing our ambitious clinical development programmes over the past two years has been tremendously exciting. As we embark on our next phase of growth, our strong syndicate of expert investors will support us in bringing much-needed innovative treatments to patients suffering from neurological and psychiatric conditions."

Cosmo was previous co-founder and managing director of Beckley Canopy Therapeutics, a cannabis-based drug development company, and Spectrum Biomedical UK, a medical cannabis distribution company. In 2019 both were sold to Canopy Growth Corporation, the world's largest medical cannabis company.

Jay Newmark, general partner of Integrated, added: “Cosmo and his dedicated team at Beckley Psytech have created an exceptional research and development platform. Their highly differentiated approach, which treats not only large indications such as depression but also rare indications such as SUNHA, is allowing accelerated access to market. We deeply appreciate our value alignment with this team and eagerly anticipate their progress in improving access to these medicines.”

Dr Amy Kruse, partner, Prime Movers Lab, said: “It is nearly impossible to find a team with more experience in developing psychedelic medicines for neurological conditions than the one at Beckley Psytech. The COVID-19 pandemic brought mental health to the public’s attention in a profound way. The excitement around psychedelics in the mental health market is very real because they are transformative medicines that will soon make their way into the lives of millions of people who desperately need them.”

Beckley Psytech was founded by Lady Amanda Feilding and Cosmo Feilding Mellen, who have found psychedelic medicines to be "a lifelong and inter-generational vocation"

Amanda has dedicated more than 50 years to the scientific exploration of psychedelics in the belief that modern science can be used to understand, validate, and optimise the healing potential of psychedelic medicines. In 1998 Amanda set up (and continues to run) the Beckley Foundation, a non-profit NGO focused on evidence-based drug policy reform and scientific research into psychedelic medicines.

Over the last 20 years the Beckley Foundation has become pioneered psychedelic research. Amanda has been dubbed “the hidden hand” behind the renaissance in psychedelic science, featured on the Guardian’s list of the Bravest Men and Women in the History of Science, and has  co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications on the subject.

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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