Thiel-backed psychedelics startup Atai valued at $3.19 billion in Nasdaq debut

Thiel-backed psychedelics startup Atai valued at $3.19 billion in Nasdaq debut

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the Nasdaq market site in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) -Shares of Atai Life Sciences B.V., backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, surged 40% in their U.S. stock market debut on Friday, giving the German psychedelics startup a market capitalization of $3.19 billion.

The Berlin-based biotech startup, which is exploring the use of psychedelic treatments for mental illnesses, raised $225 million from selling 15 million shares in its upsized initial public offering (IPO) on Thursday.

The company’s shares opened at $21, higher than the IPO price of $15, but gave up early gains to trade flat by 1600 GMT.

Atai was co-founded in 2018 by German investor Christian Angermayer, an advocate of the benefits of using psychedelics such as psilocybin to treat depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. The German startup has backed several companies developing such therapies.

Psilocybin, the psychedelic active compound in magic mushrooms, was found to be at least as effective as escitalopram, a leading antidepressant drug, in a study by British scientists.

Atai was considering floating its shares in the United States in May, Reuters reported in March, citing a source close to the matter.

Its debut comes at a time when U.S. IPOs have already raised $171 billion in the first six months of the year, scorching past the 2020 record of $168 billion, according to data from Dealogic.

Angermayer has backed about 30 biotech companies, including immunotherapies firm Sensei Biotherapeutics, mental healthcare company Compass Pathways and artificial intelligence-powered drug discovery platform AbCellera Biologics, all of which listed in the United States in recent months.

Germany-based laser communication technologies firm Mynaric and data center operator Northern Data, both partially owned by Angermayer, are also planning to list on the Nasdaq later in 2021 or in 2022, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Credit Suisse (SIX:), Citigroup (NYSE:), Cowen and Berenberg were the lead underwriters for the offering.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.