Bionomics (BNO), an Australian listed clinical stage biopharmaceutical company announced on Wednesday that it has partnered with EmpathBio, a subsidiary of the largest private psychedelic company, ATAI Life Sciences.

Through the new partnership, the companies will explore a combination drug treatment regimen using EmpathBio’s MDMA derivative, EMP-01, and Bionomics’ lead drug candidate, BNC210. 

The regimen will test the ability to effectively treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) using MDMA without psychotherapy. 

For the psychedelic industry, this is great news.

Backed by Christian Angermayer, Peter Thiel, Mike Novogratz, Merck & Co, and other well-known biotech investors like Biotech Value Fund and LifeSci Ventures, Bionomics is the first established traditional central nervous system (CNS) global drug developer to integrate development efforts into psychedelics.

More importantly, the partnership goes to show that big pharma continues to partake in the rapidly growing psychedelics industry – a signal of hope for early retail investors and industry pioneers alike.

Commenting on the collaboration, ATAI Founder Christian Angermayer stated:

Mental illness will soon carry the largest disease burden in the world. It makes perfect sense that the strongest innovators should be collaborating to expand the toolkit for treating PTSD and other mental health disorders. It really heralds a new age of innovation for psychedelics companies, where development efforts and knowledge are shared.” 

ATAI, the private sector psychedelics powerhouse, has had great success in advancing next-generation psychedelic compounds, such as their proprietary MDMA–EMP-01. Although EmpathBio’s EMP-01 is just one of eleven programs in ATAIs pipeline, the subsidiary specifically focuses on developing MDMA derivatives without its downsides, such as increases in blood pressure or heart rate.

As for Bionomics, their lead drug candidate, BNC210, has been granted Fast Track designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PTSD and other trauma and stress-related disorders. 

Bionomics Executive Chairman and former head of CNS at Merck & Co, Dr. Errol de Souza, was previously a researcher of MDMA at the US National Institute of Mental Health in the late 1980s and helped establish Neurocrine Biosciences, a company with a market capitalization of roughly US$10 billion.

Souza’s expertise, compounded with Bionomics’ early success on drug candidate, BNC210, gives investors another publicly-traded company to keep on their radar.

Listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, Bionomics has seen its stock rally over 500% since June of 2020.