Atai Life Sciences, a promising startup bringing Holy Medicines closer to people of the world

Atai Life Sciences is a biotechnology company, and one of the promising startups aiming to bring Holy Plant Medicines closer to people of the world, focusing on developing effective mental health treatments to heal mental health disorders aiming to help people to live more fulfilling lives. It is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. It was founded 2018 as a response to unmet need and lack of innovation in mental health treatment.

Atai Life Sciences started in Berlin, in 2018, and operates multiple subsidiaries like Recognify Life Sciences, Kures Inc., Perception Neuroscience Holdings, Inc. It has bought many companies aiming to heal mental health disorders and focuses on developing more effective and disease-modifying mental health treatments with the aid of Psychedelic and non-Psychedelic compounds.

Working Model

It acquires majority stake in biotechnology companies who are developing drugs and technologies, helps the scientists engaged raise money, conduct clinical trial, work with regulators etc.

Till date, the company is known to have around 50 staff, with offices in Berlin, New York and San Diego, having partnered with 14 companies.

Till 21st April, 2021, Atai Life Sciences is known to have raised $362.3M, as per their SEC filing in NASDAQ. It is known to be backed by a Billionaire Peter Theil, one of the earliest investors in PayPal.

Some key principles of Atai Life:

  • Proven approaches: Atai Life tries to minimise development risk by focusing on compounds which have been tested in humans safely.
  • Leveraging proprietary technology: Using existing proprietary technology to accelerate discovery of new drugs.
  • Leveraging Big-data and technology: Uses big data approaches and technology for digital therapeutics to improve outcomes.
  • Funds promising companies and provides access to existing pool of knowledge: finances companies and provides access to companies existing expertise and operational backbone.
  • Fostering Entrepreneurship: develops teams as companies, led by entrepreneurs, and in a decentralized, lean, agile manner.
  • Sharing services: All companies share services like accounting, HR, freeing up founders to focus on the science.

Problems Atai aiming to solve:

  • Depression: 300 million people globally are estimated to be affected by depression, one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders and leading cause of disability.
  • Anxiety: 40 million adults, or 18% of the population in U.S. after approximately affected by Anxiety disorders, one of the most common mental illness.
  • Schizophrenia: Estimated about 21 million people globally are affected by Schizophrenia.
  • Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD): Around 19.7 Million in U.S. suffer from SUD in 2017 and 2.1 million people from OUD. Around 47,600 people died from an opioid drug overdose.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: estimated around 1.7 million in U.S. suffer from traumatic brain injury annually. Mild traumatic injury accounts for 70-80% of all reported injuries. The prevalence is estimated to be higher as not all cases receive medical attention.

Compounds Atai is using to solve problems above

  • N, N-dimethyltryptamine
  • Psilocybin
  • Ibogaine & Noribogaine
  • Arketamine
  • MDMA derivative
  • Deu-Mitragynine
  • N-Acetylcysteine
  • Deu-Teifoxine

Technologies developed at ATAI

  • “Introspect”: this division is working on developing high quality digital combination therapies which, they hope, will increases safety and effectiveness of mental health drugs. Their Digital Therapeutics (DTx) aims to provide personalized and scalable treatment to those who might not otherwise be able to access high-quality psychological care. The DTx technology will be able to provide access to patients who may be living far away from treatment centers through remote monitoring, digital integration and counselling. “Introspect” has integrated DTx from very beginning of chemical development, ensuring an integrated Digital Therapeutics. The clinicians can use biomarkers, precision psychiatry and personalization to predict patient recovery pathways, while limiting trial and error at the same time streamlining therapeutic impact. By suing technology, Atai is able to make treatments refined, effect and individualised.
  • “EntheogeniX”: this is considered as the ‘next generation of Psychedelics’ at ATAI. It was developed with a joint venture between ATAI and Cyclica, whose team is dedicated to developing the next generation of Psychedelics-inspired mental health drugs. The team is designing new chemical entities with enhanced effectiveness in both in vitro and in vivo models of mental illness. They aim to take forward Psychedelic based compounds to clinic by year 2022, which they hope will cater to a large population include those who cannot access Psychedelic compounds at present due to health reasons, including those with Schizophrenia, bipolar and other disorders besides physical health issues like cardiac arrythmias.

Other areas of focus

Atai Life Sciences is also known to have invested in ‘Psyber Inc.’ with the aim to develop Brain Computer Interface-enabled digital therapeutics to help heal mental health disorders.