Psychedelic Biotech Takes SPAC Track to Nasdaq
Psychedelic-focused drug company Eleusis is merging with Silver Spike Acquisition Corp. II, a special purposes acquisition company, and heading to the Nasdaq with a combined enterprise value of $446 million.
London-based Eleusis is a pioneer in the development of psychedelic drug candidates. The company’s lead asset, ELE-Psilo, is expected to enter the clinic later this year as a potential therapeutic for depression. ELE-Psilo is a rapid-acting antidepressant formulation of psilocin, the active ingredient in psilocybin, administered through intravenous infusion. The company said IV-administered psilocin has the potential to “offer more consistent therapeutic effects to patients, more controllable therapies to clinicians, and shorter treatment times than orally-administered psilocybin exhibited in third-party clinical studies.”
Eleusis noted that clinical studies conducted by third-party researchers assessing oral psilocybin had noted compelling anti-depressant effects. However, that research also shows that an oral form of the drug may not provide lasting benefits. According to the company, oral psilocybin could prove impractical for broad therapeutic use, even if it secured FDA approval.
The company said it designed ELE-Psilo to be compatible with existing U.S. healthcare infrastructure and insurance coverage and reimbursement requirements.
Following the merger with Silver Spike, the company will operate as Eleusis Inc. Its shares will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “ELEU.”
Shlomi Raz, founder and chief executive officer of Eleusis, said the company was at the right time to go public. Raz added that Silver Spike is the perfect partner to achieve that goal.
“We believe access to public capital markets will accelerate our efforts to transform psychedelics into modern medicines, and ultimately offers the potential to improve millions of patients’ lives while creating long-term value for our shareholders,” Raz said in a statement.
Proceeds from the SPAC deal will be used to advance the clinical development of ELE-Psilo and support the development of early-stage drug discovery. Additionally, Eleusis said the funds would be used to support the nationwide expansion of clinics managed by its subsidiary, Andala.
In its announcement, Eleusis said Andala, a care delivery management company, aims to solve the “last mile” challenges of interventional psychiatric therapy. Andala manages clinics that are established to provide patients with “safe and convenient access to psychiatric drug therapies,” such as Janssen’s Spravato, an esketamine-based treatment for major depressive disorder that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2019. Andala aims to establish a nationwide care delivery platform that will offer patients access to all psychedelic drug therapies approved by the FDA.
Eleusis added that it ultimately plans to divest Andala in advance of potential regulatory approval of ELE-Psilo to mitigate regulatory risks associated with owning clinics that administer its own therapies.