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Convergence Partners invests €2.4 million in Clerkenwell Health

Photo: Daniel Koppel­kamm, Mana­ging Part­ner of Conver­gence Partners
10. Octo­ber 2022

Zurich/ London — Conver­gence Part­ners invests in the high-growth psyche­de­lic medi­ci­nes sector, parti­ci­pa­ting in Cler­ken­well Health Ltd.’s €2.4 million seed invest­ment round. The UK-based provi­der of specia­li­zed contract clini­cal rese­arch (CRO) provi­des phar­maceu­ti­cal compa­nies invol­ved in the deve­lo­p­ment of psychoac­tive drugs and thera­pies with much-needed infra­st­ruc­ture and expert guid­ance for the conduct of all three phases of clini­cal trials. The proceeds of the finan­cing round will enable the opening of the first therapy and rese­arch center in London.

The U.K.’s health regu­la­tor MHRA recently gran­ted appro­val for a first-of-its-kind psilo­­cy­­bin-assis­­ted therapy trial by Cana­dian biotech company Psyence Group to support termi­nal cancer pati­ents, which will take place at the new Cler­ken­well Center.

Foun­ded in 2021, Cler­ken­well Health guides compa­nies in the design and imple­men­ta­tion of psyche­­de­­lic-assis­­ted therapy studies in its own commer­cial centers of excel­lence. Among other things, the company helps plan studies, engage regu­la­tory agen­cies, and prepare clini­cally sound and scien­ti­fi­cally robust study proto­cols for regu­la­tory appro­val. Cler­ken­well focu­ses on the appro­val of drugs based on psyche­de­lic agents such as psilo­cy­bin, 3,4‑methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), lyser­gic acid diethyl­amide (LSD) and N,N‑dimethyltryptamine (DMT) .

Taking the lead in drug development

Tom McDo­nald, execu­tive direc­tor of Cler­ken­well Health, says, “Psyche­­de­­lic-assis­­ted therapy could be ground­brea­king for mental health treat­ment. Our goal is to estab­lish the UK as the heart of the commer­cial psyche­de­lic rese­arch ecosys­tem and a hub for rese­arch and deve­lo­p­ment. We will work closely with mental health experts and drug deve­lo­pers around the world to treat some of the most complex mental illnes­ses. We are very exci­ted to part­ner with Conver­gence Part­ners to drive our global growth.”

Psilo­cy­bin four times more effec­tive than clas­si­cal preparations 

Accord­ing to current figu­res, around 15% of people world­wide suffer from mental illnes­ses such as depres­sion — the number of unre­por­ted cases is probably higher. Health systems are facing an avalan­che of costs: spen­ding is already around USD 2,500 billion. By 2030, the medi­cal jour­nal The Lancet expects the figure to rise to $6,000 billion — more than double. A new 2020 study from Johns Hopkins Univer­sity deter­mi­ned that psilo­cy­bin may be four times more effec­tive than clas­sic anti­de­pres­sants (SSRIs) in trea­ting depression.

“Medi­cal treat­ments based on psychoac­tive medi­ca­ti­ons combi­ned with pati­ent-cente­­red psycho­the­rapy will lead to a para­digm shift in mental health care in the coming years. We believe Cler­ken­well will play a key role in brin­ging psyche­de­lic medi­ca­ti­ons to market by faci­li­ta­ting and suppor­ting their highly complex clini­cal trials. Tradi­tio­nal provi­ders for conduc­ting clini­cal trials are being elimi­na­ted, as are hospi­tals and univer­si­ties, due to the unique space and tech­ni­cal requi­re­ments for the therapy,” explains Daniel Koppel­kamm (photo), Mana­ging Part­ner of Conver­gence Partners.

Conti­nue mental health strategy

“Cler­ken­well fits perfectly into our holistic invest­ment stra­tegy in Mental Health. With our large rele­vant pharma network in Europe, Asia and the US, we will actively support Cler­ken­well in busi­ness deve­lo­p­ment and inter­na­tio­na­liz­a­tion,” Daniel Koppel­kamm conti­nues. Clerkenwell’s over­sub­scri­bed seed finan­cing round is worth appro­xi­mately EUR 2.4 million (GBP 2.1 million). Conver­gence Part­ners is one of the top inves­tors — other back­ers include Kodori AG, Lion­he­art Ventures and Excep­tio­nal Ventures.

About Conver­gence Part­ners AG

Conver­gence Part­ners AG (“Conver­gence”) is a Swiss Health­Tech venture capi­tal firm actively suppor­ting the inter­na­tio­na­liz­a­tion of its port­fo­lio compa­nies in the four largest health­care markets USA, China, India and Germany. Conver­gence is present in Switz­er­land, Germany, Spain and Hong Kong and was foun­ded in 2018 by expe­ri­en­ced health­care indus­try play­ers and venture capi­ta­lists with the goal of connec­ting EU Health­Tech inno­va­tions with great inter­na­tio­nal scale-up and exit potential.

Conver­gence focu­ses on later-stage invest­ments in digi­tal health, medi­cal devices and diagnostics. The current focus is on Mental Health, Womens Health and Compu­ta­tio­nal Biology. Conver­gence is the venture capi­tal part­ner of “Medi­cal Valley” in Nure­m­­berg-Erlan­­gen, Germany’s “Digi­tal Health Center of Excel­lence”. www.convergence-partners.ch.

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