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.