Europe’s first commercial facility for psychedelic clinical trials set to open

British start-up Clerkenwell Health has announced it is opening the first commercial facility in Europe dedicated exclusively to running psychedelic clinical trials for a range of drug developers in London this summer.

The clinical trials will explore the potential for psychedelic-assisted therapies to help people affected by a range of mental health issues.

Clerkenwell Health, a psychedelic-specialist clinical research organisation founded in 2021, aims to begin trials in their Central London facility in August, and should the trials prove effective, the results will add to the growing body of evidence supporting treatment of complex conditions, such as PTSD and addiction, using new and innovative treatment methods.

The first trials with life science biotechnology company Psyence will focus on the use of psilocybin for the treatment of adjustment disorder in patients with terminal diagnoses, using psilocybin-assisted therapy to support patients through their end-of-life care. Clerkenwell Health is also working with North American drug discovery and biotechnology companies Mindset and Mydecine, which focus respectively on treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for depression and nicotine dependency.
 
Clerkenwell Health is currently raising a seed round and has already raised over £700,000 in pre-seed funding, with backers including NYC-based Vine Ventures, and San Francisco-based Lionheart Ventures as well as a number of high-profile UK angels. They are in discussions with drug developers looking at mood disorders, trauma related conditions, and addictions, and are exploring mental health conditions that have not been previously targeted with psychedelic assisted therapies.
 
The company’s senior leadership team includes experts in psychiatry, psychedelics, clinical research and drugs development, and is advised by experts in mental health and psychedelics including the Clinical Director and Deputy Head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London.
 
Tom McDonald, Chief Executive Officer at Clerkenwell Health, said: “Psychedelic assisted therapy could be ground-breaking for mental health treatment, and the UK is well-placed to be at the vanguard of that as a global leader in clinical trials post-Brexit.
 
“Clerkenwell Health’s aim is to establish the UK as the heart of the commercial psychedelic research ecosystem, working closely with mental health experts and drug developers around the world to tackle some of the most complex mental health conditions.
 
“With a huge rise in people contacting mental health services in recent years, and with 1 in 10 consultant psychiatric posts in the NHS currently unfilled, there has never been a more desperate need to identify new and innovative treatments.”
 
The news comes as the company also launches a first-of-its-kind training programme for therapists looking to work with psychedelic drugs. Clerkenwell Health is clear that psychedelic drugs need to be delivered under the watchful eye of specialist therapists able to effectively prepare patients for a potentially transformative experience and support them effectively in the weeks that follow.

The programme is designed and led by leading experts in the field including Dr Sarah Bateup, the former Head of Therapy Research and Training at Compass Pathways.

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