There has been a huge rise in people contacting mental health services in recent years globally. In the U.K., there has never been a more desperate need to identify new and innovative treatments in addressing mental health with 1 in 10 consultant psychiatric posts in the NHS currently unfilled.
A recent Psychedelics as Medicine report claimed the market currently valued at $190 million could exceed $2.4 billion by 2026. Bullish on the segment, a number of startups in Europe are in the process of creating legal psychedelic medicines.
Founded in 2021, UK-based Clerkenwell Health is one such psychedelic specialist clinical research organisation. The startup provides clinical research support for drug developers in the U.K. and Europe. It is opening a commercial facility in Europe dedicated exclusively to running psychedelic clinical trials for a range of drug developers in London in August.
Following a pre-seed funding round of over £700,000 from NYC-based Vine Ventures, and San Francisco-based Lionheart Ventures as well as a number of high-profile U.K. angel investors, the startup is in discussions with drug developers looking at mood disorders, trauma-related conditions, and addictions, and are exploring mental health conditions that have not been previously targeted with psychedelic-assisted therapies.
According to the company, the clinical trials will explore the potential for psychedelic-assisted therapies to help people affected by a range of mental health issues. The firm will begin trials in their Central London facility.
The first trials with life science biotechnology company Psyence will focus on the use of psilocybin for the treatment of adjustment disorder in patients with terminal diagnoses, using psilocybin-assisted therapy to support patients through their end-of-life care. It is also working with North American drug discovery and biotechnology companies to focus on treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for depression and nicotine dependency.
Tom McDonald, CEO, Clerkenwell Health, said: “Psychedelic assisted therapy could be ground-breaking for mental health treatment, and the U.K. is well-placed to be at the vanguard of that as a global leader in clinical trials post-Brexit. Clerkenwell Health’s aim is to establish the U.K. as the heart of the commercial psychedelic research ecosystem, working closely with mental health experts and drug developers around the world to tackle some of the most complex mental health conditions.”
The British startup has also rolled out a training programme for therapists looking to work with psychedelic drugs.