Pe­ter Thiel-backed ATAI is prepar­ing to go to Nas­daq, as in­ter­est in psy­che­delics reach­es fever pitch

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The team be­hind ATAI Life Sci­ences has ratch­eted up mo­men­tum over the last few months, and now they’re look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize with an IPO.

Backed by bil­lion­aire Pe­ter Thiel, ATAI filed its SEC pa­per­work late Tues­day and out­lined its plans to take its port­fo­lio of ex­per­i­men­tal psy­che­del­ic med­i­cines to Nas­daq. They’ve list­ed a $100 mil­lion raise for now, though that fig­ure has com­mon­ly proved to be a mere place­hold­er dur­ing the biotech boom and the com­pa­ny could end up rais­ing much more.

Take, for ex­am­ple, an­oth­er biotech that just went pub­lic last week in Re­cur­sion. The AI drug de­vel­op­ers al­so pen­ciled in $100 mil­lion but end­ed up rais­ing $436 mil­lion once their IPO closed, good for the sec­ond-biggest IPO raise of 2021 be­hind on­ly Sana.

Flo­ri­an Brand

The in­dus­try will have to wait and see just how much ATAI ends up rais­ing, but they’ll cer­tain­ly add to the hefty to­tal among biotech so far this year. In 2021, there have now been 46 biotechs to ei­ther file or price their IPOs notch­ing a com­bined $5.46 bil­lion tal­ly across the de­buts, per an End­points News tal­ly.

If ATAI’s pre­vi­ous two fundrais­es are any in­di­ca­tion, their fi­nal IPO to­tal could be sig­nif­i­cant. Last No­vem­ber, ATAI raised $125 mil­lion in a Se­ries C that was co-led by Thiel’s firm, scor­ing the com­pa­ny a $1 bil­lion post-mon­ey val­u­a­tion. Then in March, ATAI “dou­bled down” on their strat­e­gy, as CEO Flo­ri­an Brand told End­points at the time, scor­ing a $157 mil­lion Se­ries D.

That marked a four-month span in which the com­pa­ny saw near­ly $300 mil­lion of cap­i­tal flow in­to its cof­fers, book­end­ing the ad­di­tion of Recog­ni­fy Life Sci­ences and its schiz­o­phre­nia pro­grams in­to the ATAI fam­i­ly of com­pa­nies.

ATAI’s busi­ness mod­el for de­vel­op­ing ther­a­peu­tics cov­er­ing a range of men­tal health dis­or­ders in­volves bring­ing port­fo­lio com­pa­nies un­der one um­brel­la, some­thing that Brand told End­points last month had been dri­ving the heavy in­ter­est with the con­sec­u­tive nine-fig­ure rais­es. Brand re­cent­ly brought in the 14th such port­fo­lio firm a few weeks ago with Psy­ber, which looks to im­prove men­tal health dis­or­ders and in­duce be­hav­ioral changes through “brain com­put­er in­ter­face” tech­nol­o­gy.

With the funds from the IPO, ATAI has iden­ti­fied pro­grams from six of its com­pa­nies that will be the pri­ma­ry fo­cus. The S-1 lists the com­pa­nies as Per­cep­tion, Recog­ni­fy, De­meRx, GA­BA, Neu­ronasal and Viridia, with ATAI look­ing to launch ei­ther Phase I or Phase II stud­ies for their drug can­di­dates.

The dis­or­ders in­volved in­clude treat­ment re­sis­tant de­pres­sion, schiz­o­phre­nia, opi­oid use dis­or­der, gen­er­al­ized anx­i­ety dis­or­der and mild trau­mat­ic brain in­jury.

Psy­che­delics are see­ing a come­back and in­vestors have flocked to­ward the field, as ev­i­denced by ATAI’s pre­vi­ous rais­es and the $146.6 mil­lion IPO last Sep­tem­ber for Com­pass Path­ways. The promi­nent in­vestor firm RA Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, which par­tic­i­pates in a pletho­ra of biotech crossover rounds, al­so re­cent­ly led a $125 mil­lion Se­ries B for GH Re­search, an Irish com­pa­ny look­ing at re­pur­pos­ing the drug known as “toad ven­om” for ther­a­peu­tic pur­pos­es.

So­cial: Pe­ter Thiel, AP Im­ages

Janet Woodcock (Greg Nash/Pool via AP Images)

'I re­al­ly don’t look back': Janet Wood­cock on her tran­si­tion away from drugs

Janet Woodcock may have one of the most historically long and drug-intense tenures in FDA history, but her new role is outside of all things pharma and the once-acting FDA commissioner isn’t looking back.

“No I really don’t look back,” Woodcock told Endpoints News via email on Monday morning. “Yes I will be transitioning. Longer discussion on infrastructure needed.”

Co­pay coupons gone wrong, again: Pfiz­er pays al­most $300K to set­tle com­plaints in four states

Pfizer has agreed to pay $290,000 to settle allegations of questionable copay coupon practices in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Vermont from 2014 to 2018.

While the company has not admitted any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Pfizer has agreed to issue restitution checks to about 5,000 consumers.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company has “enhanced its co-pay coupons to alleviate the concerns raised by states and agreed to a $30,000 payment to each.”

Delaware court rules against Gilead and Astel­las in years-long patent case

A judge in Delaware has ruled against Astellas Pharma and Gilead in a long-running patent case over Pfizer-onwed Hospira’s generic version of Lexiscan.

The case kicked off in 2018, after Hospira submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for approval to market a generic version of Gilead’s Lexiscan. The drug is used in myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), a type of nuclear stress test.

Taye Diggs (courtesy Idorsia)

Idor­sia inks an­oth­er celebri­ty en­dors­er deal with ac­tor and dad Taye Dig­gs as Qu­viviq in­som­nia am­bas­sador

Idorsia’s latest Quviviq insomnia campaign details the relatable dad story of a well-known celebrity — actor and Broadway star Taye Diggs.

Diggs stopped sleeping well after the birth of his son, now more than 10 years ago. Switching mom-and-dad nightly shifts to take care of a baby interrupted his sleep patterns and led to insomnia.

“When you’re lucky enough to be living out your dream and doing what you want, but because of something as simple as a lack of sleep, you’re unable to do that, it felt absolutely — it was treacherous,” he says in an interview-style video on the Quviviq website.

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Belén Garijo, Merck KGaA CEO (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for EMD Serono)

Mer­ck KGaA pumps €440M in­to ex­pand­ing and con­struct­ing Irish man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties

The area of Ireland famous for Blarney Castle and its cliffsides along the Atlantic Ocean is seeing Merck KGaA expand its commitment there.

The German drug manufacturer is expanding its membrane and filtration manufacturing capabilities in Ireland. The company will invest approximately €440 million ($470 million) to increase membrane manufacturing capacity in Carrigtwohill, Ireland, and build a new manufacturing facility at Blarney Business Park, in County Cork, Ireland.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

House Dems to Sen­ate lead­er­ship: Quick­ly move a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion bill with drug price ne­go­ti­a­tion re­forms

Twenty House Democrats, including Reps. Katie Porter of California and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, are calling on Senate leaders to move quickly with a reconciliation bill (meaning they only need a simple majority for passage) with prescription drug pricing reforms, and to include adding new authority for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

They also called on the Senate to specifically follow suit with the House passage of a $35 per month insulin cap (as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s deadline for a vote on that provision has come and gone), and to cap Medicare Part D costs at $2,000 per year for seniors.

An NYU surgeon transplants an engineered pig kidney into the outside of a brain-dead patient (Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health)

'Xeno­trans­plan­ta­tion is com­ing': New NE­JM pa­per gives de­tailed look in­to 2 pig-to-hu­man kid­ney trans­plant cas­es

The thymokidney is a curious organ, if you could call it that. It’s a sort of Frankensteinian creation — a system of pig thymus embedded underneath the outer layer of a pig’s kidney, made for human transplantation.

In the first case of pig-to-human xenotransplantation of a kidney into a brain-dead patient, the thymokidney quietly featured front and center.

In that experiment, which took place in September of last year, NYU researchers led by Robert Montgomery sutured a pig thymokidney onto the leg of a brain-dead 66-year-old woman. That case was widely reported on by a horde of major media outlets, including the New York Times, the BBC, and an in-depth feature by USA Today.

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Phillip Gomez, SIGA CEO

UP­DAT­ED: On the back of SIGA Tech­nolo­gies' win with the FDA, the mon­key­pox virus sees the com­pa­ny spring­ing to fur­ther ac­tion

As the cases of monkeypox now sit at well over 100 worldwide and have spread to multiple continents, the orders for any type of vaccine against monkeypox are seeing nations and medical bodies looking to get their hands on anything and everything. And now SIGA Technologies seems to be getting in on the action.

According to Euronews, SIGA Technologies, a pharmaceutical company that is focused on providing medical countermeasures to biological and chemical attacks, is now in talks with several European authorities looking to stockpile its antiviral that can counter monkeypox. The drug known as tecovirimat or Tpoxx was approved by the FDA in 2018 as a vaccine for smallpox but was approved by the European Medicines Agency to also act against monkeypox, cowpox and complications from immunization with vaccinia.

Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

UP­DAT­ED: Fresh off $11.6B sale to Pfiz­er, New Bio­haven hits Phase III set­back just weeks af­ter Vlad Coric chalked up promise

When Pfizer bought up Biohaven’s migraine portfolio in the largest M&A deal of the year earlier this month, Biohaven CEO Vlad Coric promised the rest of the pipeline, which will live on under the umbrella of New Biohaven, still has a lot to offer. But that vision took a dent Monday as the drugmaker revealed it’s once again flopped on troriluzole.

The glutamate regulator failed to meet the primary endpoint on a Phase III study in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia, an inherited disorder that impairs a person’s ability to walk, speak and swallow. SCA can also lead to premature death.

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