atai Life Sciences Announces Strategic Investment In Beckley Psytech Limited
atai Life Sciences (NASDAQ: ATAI) has made a play to bolster their psychedelics portfolio. The company announced a strategic investment in Beckley Psytech Limited, a private clinical-stage biotechnology firm committed to converting short-duration psychedelics into medicines for neuropsychiatric conditions. The collaboration is aimed at expediting the advancement of Beckley’s two clinical-stage, patent-protected, short-duration psychedelic candidates—BPL-003 and ELE-101—by integrating them into atai’s mental health innovation platform.
Beckley’s BPL-003 is a novel and short-duration intranasal formulation of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT). The compound is currently undergoing development for Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The compound has entered three clinical trials, including a global Phase 2b study in TRD, assessing the effects of medium and high doses against an active placebo comparator in 225 patients.
Indeed, Beckley announced last October that the first patient had been dosed in its multi-site Phase IIb study (NCT05870540) of BPL-003, with CRO Fluence to provide training for the standardized psychological support to patients in the trial.
Additionally, ELE-101, the second candidate from Beckley Psytech, is being developed for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This compound aims to provide the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin in a more consistent, controllable, and shorter treatment paradigm of less than 2 hours. Preliminary results from the ongoing ELE-01 Phase 1/2a study are anticipated in the first half of 2024.
Under the terms of the investment, Beckley Psytech will retain its independence as a privately-owned company, with atai holding a 35.5% ownership stake. The investment comprises a $50 million total, with a direct investment of $40 million to support ongoing research programs and an additional $10 million in secondary share purchases from existing shareholders.
Upon completion, atai will receive 1:1 warrant coverage at a 30% premium on the primary issuances. Furthermore, atai will have the authority to appoint three out of the nine seats on Beckley Psytech’s Board of Directors, along with a time-limited right of first refusal for potential future sales, asset transfers, or other commercial rights.
Additionally, atai will hold an indefinite right of first negotiation for BPL-003 and ELE-101.