Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals Raises $27 Million for Psychedelic-Related Treatments in Mental Health

By Bruce Harpham Sunday, May 16, 2021

Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals, a New York biotechnology business, has raised $27 million in Series A funding from investors. The startup takes inspiration from psychedelic medicines to develop its mental health drugs. Founded in 2019, the business has participated in the Y Combinator startup business accelerator program. Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals is led by Jonathan Sporn, MD. Before starting the company, Sporn established Perception Neuroscience, a business developing ketamine-related drugs, in 2017. ATAI Life Sciences acquired Perception Neuroscience for an undisclosed amount in 2019.

Abstract image of brain hovering over a doctors hands.

The startup biotechnology company has several investors, including Prime Movers Lab, the Noetic Psychedelic Fund, Gron Ventures, Route 66 Ventures, JLS Fund, and Palo Santo Investors. Founded in 2018, Prime Movers Lab is a relatively new investing fund that has invested in Fort Robotics (a robotics startup company), Epirus (a defense technology company), and Space Perspective (a space tourism business).

The Noetic Psychedelic Fund is investing in companies like Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals addressing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and opioid abuse. "Psychedelics will transform the global mental health sector by shifting the focus from ongoing treatment of ailments to curing mental health diseases,” said Sa'ad Shah, managing partner of the Noetic Fund.

Psychedelics Become Mainstream

Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals is joining a growing business trend to develop medicines and products related to psychedelics.

"We are truly in the era of a psychedelic renaissance with clinicians and researchers finding that psychedelic substances are not just treatments, they can be curative. We're excited to partner with Gilgamesh and their industry-leading research around medicinal chemistry and neuropharmacology to develop transformative medicines that will make it into the lives of the people who need them most," said Amy Kruse, a partner at Prime Movers Lab.

The startup business is following in the footsteps of other business leaders in the psychedelics sector. MindMed (stock ticker: NASDAQ: MNMD) is a public company that offers psychedelics. The business did not generate revenue in 2019 or 2020, but it did spend significantly on R&D expenses. Compass Pathways (stock ticker NASDAQ: CMPS) has launched clinical trials in 20 countries with a focus on treatment-resistant depression. In addition, Johnson & Johnson is also active in the psychedelic drugs business.

Three Drugs in the Pipeline

Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals is currently developing three mental health drugs. Arylcyclohexylamine, positioned as an alternative to Ketamine, can be used to treat depression and suicidal tendencies. The business is also developing a serotonergic micro-dose drug designed for home use for people suffering from ADHD. Finally, the startup business is also working on tackling the opioid epidemic with its novel ibogaine analog. The startup company is at an early stage of development because it is currently hiring for a preclinical head of integrated pharmacology position.

Fighting the Opioid Crisis

According to the CDC, US deaths from opioids have significantly increased since 2013. Of the 70,980 drug overdose deaths reported in the US in 2019, over 50,000 involved opioids, according to the American Hospital Association.

According to Grand View Research, the global opioid use disorder business was worth $1.9 billion in 2018. There are relatively few approved drugs to treat the condition, including methadone and buprenorphine. Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals may be able to serve a significant number of people suffering from opioid abuse.

About the Author


Headshot for author Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book "Project Managers At Work" shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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