Peter Thiel-Backed COMPASS Pathways Files $100 Million U.S. IPO for Psilocybin-Based Therapy

With millions of people across the globe suffering from treatment-resistant mental illness, it’s not surprising that a significant amount of interest and attention is being placed into the promise that is psychedelic medicine. In a groundbreaking move for the industry, Peter Thiel-backed psilocybin biotech company, COMPASS Pathways Plc, recently announced their $100 million IPO (initial public offering). This dramatic development is followed by Palantir Technologies and Snowflake Inc both making their IPO paperwork public recently as well. The total addressable market size (TAM) associated with such mental illnesses is large and ever growing across the world. As such, investors are bullish on the growth prospects offered by companies like Compass Pathways who are strategically taking advantage of this important market vertical.  


Clinical Research Strongly Supports COMPASS Pathways New Psilocybin Based Therapy


Many companies are currently developing psychedelic therapeutics that are focused on providing radically new and effective solutions for conditions like treatment-resistant depression (TRD). COMPASS Pathways, a British Phase 2 biotech firm developing a psilocybin-based therapy for depression, filed with the SEC on Friday, August 28th, 2020 to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering. The firm is focusing on their proprietary formulation of psilocybin, known as COMP360, to be used in conjunction with psychological support in the treatment of patients with TRD. Numerous clinical trials have recently spotlighted psilocybin’s ability to effectively treat depression—demonstrating it to be far superior to currently available treatment modalities. One notable 2017 study conducted by Carhart-Harris and colleagues using fMRI brain scans to study the efficacy of psilocybin for TRD produced such findings.1 The researchers suggested a novel “’reset’ therapeutic mechanism” for the magic mushrooms’ ability to “facilitate emotional breakthrough and renewed perspective”.1 Depression is the leading cause of global disability and a major contributor to the disease burden worldwide.2 As such, the need for novel psychedelic-based therapeutics for depression and its various disease subsets are greater than ever before. For these reasons, COMPASS Pathways new psilocybin-based therapy for TRD is expected to make a huge splash in the mental health arena.  


Wall Street & Silicon Valley Leaders Are Rushing to Support Psychedelic Medicine


As psilocybin boldly merges into modern pharmacopeia, the emerging field of psychedelic medicine continues forward amidst this electrifying renaissance. Pioneers such as MAPS, Usona Institute and COMPASS Pathways have been awarded the coveted “breakthrough status” for their psilocybin-based therapies by the US Food & Drug Administration. This designation marked a historic moment for the overall psychedelic revolution and has caught the attention of various notable investors from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Peter Thiel, the notable billionaire backer of COMPASS Pathways, is the co-founder of PayPal and one of Facebook’s first major investors. He is also the chairman of aforementioned Palantir Technologies, which is also expected to go public in the coming weeks. Currently, Palantir is one of the tech industry’s most valuable private companies with a whopping valuation of $20 billion dollars. Thiel’s combined investments in Palantir and COMPASS Pathways highlights the significant shift in attention towards psychedelics from big players in Wall Street and Silicon Valley.


Works Cited


  1.     Carhart-Harris, R. L. et al. Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. Sci. Rep. 7, (2017).
  2.     Wang, J. et al. Prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms among outpatients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open 7, (2017).



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