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Peter Thiel-Backed Psychedelic Start-Up, ATAI Life Sciences, Increases Stake In Compass Pathways

Peter Thiel-Backed Psychedelic Start-Up, ATAI Life Sciences, Increases Stake In Compass Pathways
Biopharmaceutical conglomerate ATAI Life Sciences (NASDAQ:ATAI), a Peter Thiel-backed psychedelic startup that currently has 10 psychedelic programs in the works, has upped its stake in Compass Pathways (NASDAQ:CMPS), a drug developer looking to accelerate patient access to psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression.

In recent days, Atai Life Sciences (Compass’ biggest shareholder) increased its ownership in Compass Pathways buying another 619,095 shares, taking its stake in the company from 19.4 to 20.8 percent.

Christian Angermayer, founder and chairman of Atai, explained to CNBC why the company has an interest in backing research into Compass’ psilocybin therapy to treat depression. “The current treatments which are out there are definitely not sufficient,” Angermayer said. “I don’t want to say they don’t work at all because some people are helped by them, but they’re not sufficient.”

Research into psychedelic therapies is an expanding field that seeks to offer alternative treatments, for instance, to the more than 50 percent of patients receiving therapy for major depressive disorder (MDD) who do not respond to approved depression medications.

The move by Atai follows a recent announcement from Compass that its psilocybin treatment called COMP360 demonstrated a “statistically significant and clinically relevant reduction in depressive symptom severity after three weeks.”
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