Right now, psychedelics firms are all the rage. Compass Pathways is using psilocybin, a magical mushroom ingredient, to treat depression. It has raised a total of $290 million. The IPO of Atai Life Sciences, which is financed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, brought in $258 million. This has not gone unnoticed in the digital world, and the same business models that have been applied to other platforms for health and wellness entrepreneurs are now being applied to psychedelics.
Journey Clinical, based in New York, has raised a $3 million seed round led by San Francisco venture capital firm Fifty Years. Neo Kuma Ventures, Palo Santo, PsyMed Ventures, Lionheart Ventures, Christina Sass, co-founder of Andela, Edvard Engesth, MD, co-founder of Nurx, and Hans Gangeskar, co-founder of Nurx were among the other participants. Journey joins a slew of other companies exploring psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, or ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, which uses ketamine to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, and trauma (KAP). In June, the Miami-based business NUE Life Health raised $3.3 million in a seed round for the same purpose.
Field Trip and Mindbloom are also playing in this area.
These start-ups are hammering away at an open door in the fight against depression and anxiety. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 50 million Americans were afflicted prior to COVID-19. Of course, the pandemic has worsened the problem, with some estimates suggesting that those figures have doubled. It’s still early in the market. According to Journey, the market for legal psychedelic therapies is extremely fragmented, with over a million licensed mental health practitioners missing the infrastructure to provide these treatments due to a dearth of prescribing clinicians.
Patients, on the other hand, have a difficult time finding psychotherapists who can prescribe psychedelics as a treatment.
Journey claims to have a “decentralized clinic model” that permits psychotherapists to give legal psychedelic therapy treatments, starting with ketamine, in their practice. The way it works is that Journey handles the pharmacological, while psychotherapists who sign up for the platform handle the patient’s psychotherapy. The treatment regimens are then tailored to the patient’s specific requirements.
Jonathan Sabbagh, Journey’s co-founder and CEO, had previously been diagnosed with PTSD, but after learning about psychedelics, he returned to school to study clinical psychology and went on to co-found the company. “In the realm of mental health, we are on the precipice of a paradigm shift,” he stated. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies are one of the most promising new therapy options accessible, allowing physicians to address the world’s rising mental health crisis.”
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