Neo Kuma invests in psychedelic healthcare

Neo Kuma Ventures

Neo Kuma Ventures, a London-based investment fund dedicated solely to psychedelic healthcare, today announced its investments in seven healthcare companies, three of which are going public this year, yielding between 180% and 680% return on initial investment.

Following the launch of its fund last December, Neo Kuma has invested more than £5 million across ATAI Life Sciences, Bright Minds Biosciences, Beckley Psytech, Small Pharma, Eleusis, Journey Clinical and Sana Health.

Neo Kuma was set up in 2019 to invest in “the most exciting, high-quality and scientifically robust players” in the psychedelics sector.

It is set to complete its fourth close on its fund later this summer having raised more than £10 million of investment. Neo Kuma Ventures stated that the fund exceeded its fundraising targets within five months.

Among its investments, Neo Kuma has seen a positive return on its investment in UK-based psychedelics company Small Pharma, a drug discovery firm accelerating the development of effective therapeutic treatments for mental health disorders.

In the UK it also backed Eleusis Holdings, a life science company targeting the anti-inflammatory potential of psychedelic compounds and combinations with existing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatments.

Neo Kuma has invested in the Series C and D rounds of ATAI Life Sciences, a platform company that has majority stakes in a range of mental healthcare and biotech companies including Compass. ATAI, which has a valuation of approximately $2 billion, is currently closing a $100 million pre-IPO financing.

Further investments include Bright Minds, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing next-generation therapeutics for patients with life-altering brain diseases. Neo Kuma invested in Bright Minds at seed achieving a 680% return when it listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, and again in a private placement after it went public. Bright Minds has one of the only issued patents for novel chemical entities in the sector, along with partnerships with the National Institutes of Health in the US.

Beckley Psytech, a life sciences company developing novel drugs inspired by psychedelic compounds, has also made exciting advancements, having commenced clinical trials.

Neo Kuma also led the pre-seed investment round into Journey Clinical, which provides an infrastructure solution for independent therapists in the US to deliver ketamine assisted psychotherapy. Neo Kuma has an active role in the company’s future growth plans. 

The fund’s most recent investment was in Sana Health, a subscription pain and mental health service based in California. The company has recently attained breakthrough device designation for the treatment of fibromyalgia (a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body) from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Neo Kuma Ventures co-founder Clara Burtenshaw said: “The key to our strategy has been backing companies which have pharmaceutical backgrounds, are guided by science, and are passionate about solving problems and improving people’s lives. For us at Neo Kuma, the most important thing is to invest in companies that have real potential to move the standard of patient care forwards.

“Scientists, investors and the public are waking up to the extraordinary potential of psychedelics to help treat and manage mental health conditions. It is really exciting to see our initial investments reap such early success, and we look forward to backing more innovative and purpose-driven companies in the near future.”

Date published: June 2, 2021

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