Today, atai Life Sciences (ATAI) goes public in the most anticipated psychedelic IPO of the year.
The company will raise more than $200 million dollars during the IPO. This comes after first proposing to raise $100 million on April 20, 2021.
In late 2020, we explored atai’s value in the markets by attempting to answer the question: What’s The Real Value of atai Life Sciences?
Nearly nine months later, and with much more information at hand, we will give a go at answering the question again.
Below, we will take a look at Atai’s different entities (all 16!), including:
- What the company is focused on
- Atai’s involvement (including how much of the company they own)
- How much of the money raised in atai’s IPO will be allocated to the company
- Any other useful or interesting information
Before we get started, it is worth noting that valuing a company like atai is very difficult, if not near impossible.
The company owns controlling or minority interests in more than a dozen companies that are all focused on different technologies and drugs. Beyond that, atai also owns shares in private companies that have little to nothing to do with psychedelics, as well as material interests in public, what some might call competitor, psychedelic companies such as Compass Pathways (CMPS).
ATAI Life Sciences Entities
ATAI can be best thought of as a holding company of a variety of psychedelic-focused companies including ten drug development programs and six ‘enabling technologies.’
- Drug Developers: Companies directly focused on researching and developing psychedelic compounds
- Enabling Technologies: Tools to support the development of compounds or patient support tools
These 16 entities can best be evaluated by ATAI’s level of ownership as either wholly owned subsidiaries, consolidated VIEs, or investments. Let’s take a look at each.
Wholly Owned Companies
Atai Life Sciences controls a range of companies that it wholly owns through either acquisition or incubation.
Viridia Life Sciences (Drug Discovery)
Viridia Life Sciences was formed by atai in June 2020 to focus on VLS-01, a formulation of DMT for the treatment of Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD). VLS-01 is being formulated to provide a psychedelic experience lasting 30 to 45 minutes, potentially allowing for a shorter clinical visit compared to other compounds.
The company expects to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of VLS-01 in early 2022, with results expected to be reported in the second half of 2022.
The company is working with other atai portfolio companies, IntelGenx Technologies, Psyber and IntroSpect Digital Therapeutics.
Atai has earmarked approximately $10.0 million to $15.0 million to fund the continued development of programs at Viridia, up to Phase 2a clinical trials for VLS-01.
IntroSpect Digital Therapeutics (Enabling Technology)
Created in June, 2020, IntroSpect is a “digital therapeutics platform dedicated to improving patient outcomes through personalized care. Atai believes that the company will contribute to its other portfolio companies – such as DemeRx and Viridia – in regards to symptom tracking, mobile-based therapy, and remote monitoring. A prototype though isn’t expected to be introduced until 2022.
Digital therapeutics is a fast growing market, so it is unsurprising that atai is making a bet in the space.
EmpathBio (Drug Discovery)
EmpathBio is focused on studying and developing a derivative of MDMA known as EMP-01 for the treatment of PTSD.
EmpathBio expects to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of EMP-01 in mid-2022. Atai owns one US provisional patent application covering EMP-01.
There has been no news from the company since August 2020.
Revixia Life Sciences (Drug Discovery)
Revixia Life Sciences was formed in October 2020 with the goal of treating TRD with it’s leading candidate formulation – RLS-01, a formulation of Salvinorin A (SalA).
The company expects to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials of RLS-01 in mid-2022, with results expected to follow six months later. Atai currently owns one US provisional patent application for RLS-01.
The company is also working to develop a “set and setting” technology in collaboration with other atai portfolio companies, Psyber and IntroSpect.
A variable interest entity (VIE) is simply a business structure in which an investor does not wholly own a company, but has a controlling interest. These are primarily smaller or newer companies that couldn’t withstand losses without ATAI’s support.
Perception Neuroscience (Drug Discovery)
In November 2018, atai gained control of Perception Neuroscience, with other minority investors Morgan Noble, Subversive Capital, and WPSS Investments. Founded by Jonathan Sporn, MD, and Jay Kranzler, MD, PhD, Perception Neuroscience’s lead product is the NMDA antagonist arketamine (PCN 101), a single isomer of ketamine. PCN 101 has the potential to work as a rapid-acting antidepressant, with the potential to be an at-home alternative to FDA approved SPRAVATO.
The Phase 1 trial for PCN-101 was completed in September 2020 and the company expects to conduct a Phase 2 trial in Europe in mid-2021, with topline data expected to be reported at the end of 2022.
Perception Neuroscience is one of the only companies in atai’s portfolio generating revenue as on March 11, 2021, it entered into a license agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical. Per the agreement, Otsuka will pay Perception an upfront payment of $20.0 million, payments of up to $35.0 million for development and regulatory milestones, and up to $66.0 million for certain commercial sales thresholds.
Atai has earmarked approximately $40.0 million to $50.0 million to fund the continued development of programs at Perception, including the completion of the planned Phase 2 clinical trial for PCN-101.
Kures (Drug Discovery)
Kures is a joint venture between atai and a team of scientists at Columbia University in which atai owns 54.1% of the company.
The company is focused on developing a compound (KUR-101) derived from kratom (Mitragnyna speciosa) to treat everything from acute pain, opioid abuse disorder, and depression. Kratom has a long history as an analgesic in Southeast Asia, and has gained popularity in the US to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms.
According to the prospectus, Kures expects to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of KUR-101 in early 2022.
Atai has earmarked approximately $5.0 million to $10.0 million to fund up to Phase 2a clinical trials.
EntheogeniX Biosciences (Enabling Technology)
EntheogeniX is an enabling technology that was developed as a joint venture with Cyclica, a drug discovery platform, with atai owning 80%. EntheogeniX is utilizing Cyclica’s AI platforms to accelerate drug discovery for atai. There has been no news regarding EntheogeniX since 2/16/20.
DemeRx IB (Drug Discovery)
DemeRx IB is a joint venture with atai that is focused primarily on what it is calling DMX-1002, an oral formulation of ibogaine for treating opoiod use disorder (OUD).
DemeRx IB owns one US patent (four pending) and one Europe patent (four pending). The company plans to commence a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in Europe in mid-2021.
Atai has earmarked approximately $12.0 million to $15.0 million to fund the continued development of programs at DemeRx IB, up to Phase 2a clinical trials for DMX-1002, which includes payments of $12.0 million upon the achievement of specified clinical and regulatory milestones.
Atai also owns 6.3% of DemeRx NB, which is developing DMX-1001, a formulation of noribogaine, for the treatment of OUD.
Recognify Life Sciences (drug developer)
Recognify (previously known as FSV7, Inc.), was acquired by Atai in November 2020 and is a company focused on developing treatments for cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS). One could argue that Recognify is currently atai’s most promising company in the portfolio.
The deal centered around Recognify’s leading drug candidate, RL-007, has shown positive effects on learning and memory processes while being non-sedating.
Atai currently owns 51.9% of Recognify and is committed to making tens of millions of dollars more in payments to the company based on specific (clinical and regulatory) milestones.
Currently, Recognify has begun a Phase 2a clinical trial in the US to investigate RL-007 in subjects with schizophrenia. Results of the trial are expected to be announced in late 2021.
The company has currently been issued ten US patents. Approximately $30.0 million to $40.0 million has been earmarked from atai to fund ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial for RL-007.
PsyProtix (Enabling Technology)
PsyProtix is another relatively new portfolio company for atai, only being formed in February 2021. The company is a joint venture with Chymia, a spinout of Duke University, in which atai controls 75% of the combined company.
PsyProtix was created for the purpose of exploring and developing a “metabolomics-based precision psychiatry approach,” initially targeting the stratification and treatment of TRD patients.
Currently this program is in preclinical phase and there is currently very little news.
Psyber (Enabling Technology)
Similarly to PsyProtix, atai acquired a controlling interest (75%) in Psyber in February 2021. Psyber is focused on developing an electroencephalography (EEG)-based brain-computer interface (BCI) technology for psychiatric use.
This is unsurprising due to Christian Angermayer’s recent obsession with BCI technology.
Atai aims to use Psyber as an enabling technology focused on “(mind)set and setting” during psychedelic therapy. The company aims to co-develop the technology with IntroSpect Digital Therapeutics’ mobile application and anticipate a prototype in 2022.
InnarisBio (Enabling Technology)
InnarisBio is a majority owned (82% ownership) subsidiary of atai and joint venture with UniQuest (18% ownership) – a company stemming from the University of Queensland in Australia.
In comparison all other consolidated VIEs in atai’s S-1, InnarisBio is at the top of the list in terms of ownership percentage, notching in at 82%. At the time of writing, InnarisBio also holds the title as atai’s most recent acquisition, which occurred at the end of March 2021.
While there’s limited information on the new subsidiary, the primary reason for this acquisition appears to be the unique nose-to-brain (N2B) technology InnarisBio has developed to deliver platform compounds (starting with Salvinorin A, the main active psychotropic molecule in Salvia) in a non-invasive and safe manner.
Potential additional advantages include increased patient compliance, ease of administration and rapid onset of action.
Their pilot Phase 1 clinical trial is expected to be completed sometime in 2022.
When Atai was created in 2018, the company entered into a series of transactions with shareholders.
- Apeiron, the family office of atai’s founder, Christian Angermayer, contributed shares in Juvenescence
- Galaxy Group Investments, run by Mike Novogratz, contributed shares in publicly traded psychedelics company, Compass Pathways (CMPS)
- HCS, a German venture investor, contributed shares in Innoplexus
The shareholders of each of these companies exchanged investments in their respective companies for stock in atai at a 1:1 ratio. It should be noted though that this was a messy (from an investors perspective) transaction.
Innoplexus is an “artificial intelligence and blockchain technology platform designed to support all stages of drug development from pipeline to market.” The company recently raised more than $44 million.
Compass Pathways (CMPS)
Consistent readers of Psychedelic Invest should be well aware of Compass Pathways, which prior to atai’s IPO was the largest psychedelic company by market cap. We covered Compass in-depth here.
As of May 2021, atai owned 19.7% of Compass Pathways stock equaling nearly $300 million.
In May 2021, Atai purchased additional preferred stock of Neuronasal. As of the date, the company now holds a 56.5% equity ownership position in Neuronasal – a company focused on treating concussions and other forms of mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (mTBI).
Neuronasal is developing NN-101 and expects to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of NN-101 in Australia in mid-2021.
In May 2021, atai acquired a minority interest (25%) in IntelGenx Technologies as part of a strategic partnership. IntelGenx is developing an oral thin film (OTF) drug delivery system manufacturer that is currently developing a formulation of Viridia’s VLS-01.
In August 2019, atai Life Sciences made an investment in GABA Therapeutics, who is developing GRX-917, an anxiety medication as effective as benzodiazepines like Xanax, but with minimal to no side effects. It is an improved version of Etifoxine, an anxiety drug first approved in France 39 years ago.
A Phase 1 trial of GRX-917 began in Australia in June 2021. Atai has currently earmarked approximately $5.0 million to $10.0 million to fund the continued development of programs up to Phase 2a for GRX-917. Atai currently owns 7.5% of the company.
Juvenescence is a biopharmaceutical company that is building a pipeline of therapeutic assets to target aging, regeneration and the diseases of aging.
Atai made its first investment into Juvenescence in June 2018 and the company is expected to go public soon, although it has pushed it’s IPO multiple times to date.
Is Atai Life Sciences stock a buy?
At a more than $2 billion valuation, atai will have the highest market cap of all pureplay psychedelic companies currently on the market.
With that though, one could easily make both a bullish and bearish argument as to owning the stock.
On the one hand, you are getting ground floor access to a diversified portfolio of psychedelic compounds covering a range of potential uses, a host of enabling technologies that could become useful in furthering the potential of the compounds, as well as backdoor access to other (at times competitive companies) both public and private.
On the other hand, we are looking at a company that, for all it has acquired and incubated, is many years away from any real tangible results regarding planned FDA studies. The company has also incurred large losses since it’s creation, and most likely will continue into the near future. Now, we should be clear, this is no different than any other current psychedelic company.
Overall, the team is impressive, the portfolio is all encompassing, and the company will have plenty of cash on hand after this acquisition to give it runway into the future, but investors looking to buy the stock today should understand they are making a long term bet on the company and its prospects.