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Psychedelics startups racing to go public: Compass, Havn, Field Trip

  • There is a “psychedelics renaissance” in motion, according to insiders in the industry, as shown by a rush of investor dollars and a number of public market debuts.
  • Some of the investors and banks working in psychedelics are the same ones who were involved with the cannabis boom and subsequent bust.
  • Despite the similarities, psychedelics insiders say that there are stark differences between cannabis and psychedelics.
  • Business Insider spoke to five industry insiders, from company CEOs to investors. They said they don’t see psychedelics facing the same pitfalls that befell the cannabis industry.
  • Subscribe to Insider Cannabis for more stories like this.

The psychedelics industry is booming.

Compass Pathways, a London-based psychedelics giant, raised $146.6 million in its US initial public offering last month, and is valued at more than $1 billion. Psychedelics companies Field Trip Health and Havn Life Sciences recently started trading in Canada, following MindMed, which secured a Canadian listing in March.

Meanwhile, the psychedelics industry is drawing attention from biotech investors, as well as from cannabis companies looking for fresh opportunities.

The total market for psychedelics-related medicines could eventually reach $100 billion, according to a report from Tania Gonsalves at Canaccord Genuity. Companies are working on psychedelics-based therapies for treatment-resistant depression, cluster headaches, opioid use disorder, smoking cessation, and PTSD among others, according to the report.

Ronan Levy, the founder and executive chairman of Field Trip, which is focused on setting up treatment clinics and on psychedelics-based drug development and manufacturing, called the uptick in investor interest and funding a “psychedelic renaissance.”

A focus on the importance of mental health has gone mainstream, Levy said. Other factors driving the boom include increasing research on psychedelics, big-name investors like Peter Thiel coming on board, skepticism around big pharma, and the headway that cannabis has made in challenging preconceived notions of drugs, he said.

The psychedelics boom has some parallels with the cannabis bubble

Levy’s firm started trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Oct. 6. Cannabis-focused asset manager Silver Spike Capital and Harris Fricker, the former CEO of GMP Capital, invested in the company before it went public.

GMP Capital is a Canadian investment bank that advised cannabis companies including Canopy Growth. Its capital-markets business was acquired by Stifel Financial in December 2019. Other Canadian investment banks that work with cannabis companies, such as Canaccord Genuity and Eight Capital, are now starting to advise psychedelics companies as they gear up to trade publicly.

“I think you have a lot of people who have seen what has happened in the cannabis industry from a capital markets perspective, seeing psychedelics as an extension of it,” said Levy. “You have a lot of people who either made a lot of money or were very interested in the cannabis industry, seeing the cannabis industry going through a bit of a trough from a valuation perspective and a reputational perspective and they’re looking for another great opportunity.”

Though there are some parallels between cannabis and psychedelics, they don’t run as deep as

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