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

How Pa­tients with Epilep­sy Ben­e­fit from Re­al-World Da­ta

Amanda Shields, Principal Data Scientist, Scientific Data Steward

Keith Wenzel, Senior Business Operations Director

Andy Wilson, Scientific Lead

Real-world data (RWD) has the potential to transform the drug development industry’s efforts to predict and treat seizures for patients with epilepsy. Anticipating or controlling an impending seizure can significantly increase quality of life for patients with epilepsy. However, because RWD is secondary data originally collected for other purposes, the challenge is selecting, harmonizing, and analyzing the data from multiple sources in a way that helps support patients.

$DNA is once again on NYSE; FDA clears Soliris chal­lenger for the mar­ket; Flag­ship’s think­ing big again with eR­NA; and more

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I still remember the uncertainty in the air last year when nobody was sure whether ASCO would cancel their in-person meeting. But it’s now back again for the second virtual conference, and Endpoints News is here for it. Check out our 2-day event reviewing the landscape of cancer R&D and send news our way.

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Michael Dell (Richard Drew, AP Images)

'Dude, you're get­ting a Del­l' — as a new deep-pock­et biotech in­vestor

What happens when you marry longtime insiders in the global biotech VC game with the family fund of tech billionaire Michael Dell, a synthetic biology legend out of MIT and Harvard and the former director of the NCI?

Today, the answer is a newly financed, $200 million biotech SPAC now cruising the industry for a top player interested in finding a short cut to Nasdaq.

Orion Biotech Opportunities priced their blank check company today, raising $200 million with Dell’s multibillion-dollar MSD group’s commitment on investing another $20 million in a forward-purchase agreement.

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Gene ther­a­py from Bio­gen's $800M buy­out flops in mid-stage study, deal­ing blow to new am­bi­tions

The #2 candidate from Biogen’s $800 million ocular gene therapy buyout has failed in a mid-stage trial, dealing an early blow to the big biotech’s plans to revitalize its pipeline with new technologies.

Biogen announced that the candidate, an experimental treatment for a rare and progressive form of blindness called X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), failed to sufficiently improve vision in patients’ treated eye — patients only received an injection in one eye — after a year, on a standard scale, compared to their untreated eye. The company said they saw “positive trends” on several secondary endpoints, including visual acuity, but declined to say whether the trial actually hit any of those endpoints.

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Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis whiffs on En­tresto study af­ter heart at­tacks — but that does­n't mean it's go­ing down qui­et­ly

If Novartis learned one thing from its interaction with the FDA over its latest heart failure approval for Entresto, it was that missing a primary endpoint may not be the nail in the coffin. Now, Entresto has missed again on a late-stage study in high-risk heart patients, and it’s already sowing the seeds for a path forward regardless.

Novartis’ Entresto couldn’t best standard-of-care ramipril in staving off a composite of deaths and heart failure events in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and/or pulmonary congestion who have had a prior heart attack, according to topline data from the Phase III PARADISE-MI study revealed Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.

Jason Kelly (Photographer: Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gink­go nabs $DNA, biotech's most sought af­ter tick­er, for free in sweet­en­er from NYSE

When Ginkgo went comparison shopping for a financial market to list their now $15 billion company, the New York Stock Exchange had a back-pocket sweetener the Nasdaq couldn’t offer: The most sought-after ticker in biotech, $DNA.

DNA — the most famous three letters in biology and the ticker for the world’s first biotech, Genentech, from 1999 until it was bought out by Roche for $48 billion in 2009 — will now be the ticker for Ginkgo, a 12-year-old synthetic biology startup with grand ambitions to change not only how drugs, but also everyday products like meat and perfumes, are made.

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Lark­spur Health Ac­qui­si­tion files to go pub­lic as this year's SPAC flood surges over $14B

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Another day, another SPAC vying for a spot on Nasdaq.

On Wednesday, OncoSec Medical CEO Daniel O’Connor filed the S-1 paperwork for a new blank-check company he’s leading called Larkspur Health Acquisition. The former Advaxis chief penciled in a $75 million raise, with plans to offer 7.5 million shares at $10 apiece.

BAR­DA slows its $9B en­gine for new Covid-19 ther­a­peu­tics

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is cooling its jets in looking for new, potential Covid-19 treatments, at least in the near term.

An HHS spokesperson told Endpoints News via email, “to date, BARDA has obligated more than $9 billion for the development and/or purchase of 13 therapeutics, beginning in February 2020 with support to develop Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapeutic. Therapeutics are an important element of the COVID-19 response, and we are focused on the programs currently underway and/or in negotiation using the funds available to us.”

Bris­tol My­ers backs up its case for heart drug mava­camten as FDA weighs app in car­diomy­opa­thy

When Bristol Myers Squibb signed off on its $13 billion acquisition of MyoKardia back in October, it was making a big bet that lead drug mavacamten could prove a game changer in cardiac myopathy. Now, with the drug up for FDA review, Bristol Myers is backing up its case with new quality of life data.

Patients dosed with myosin inhibitor mavacamten posted a clinically significant increase in scores on the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire, a catch-all summary of symptoms and quality of life markers, over placebo at 30 weeks, according to data from the Phase III EXPLORER-HCM study presented Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.