Medtech startup Pyschae Therapeutics, which hopes to develop botanically-derived treatments and psychedelic-assisted therapies for mental health issues such as PTSD, anxiety and addiction, has scored $4.5 million in syndicated investment from the University of Melbourne.
The funding came from the university’s Genesis Pre-Seed Fund, which backs early-stage research and technologies from the campus, as well as its new VC fund Tin Alley Ventures.
Tin Alley is a joint venture with John Wiley’s Tanarra Capital , which earlier this year announced it had secured $100 million towards a $200m target to back alumni founders. The uni invested $25 million with BreakThrough Victoria
Associate Professor Daniel Perkins cofounded Psychae Therapeutics with Professor Jerome Sarris.
“Psychedelic therapies are emerging as highly effective, fast-acting and safe treatments for mental disorders and addiction, with fewer side effects compared to existing medicines for conditions such as depression, PTSD and alcoholism,” Perkins said.
“Psychae is working with the CSIRO Botanical Extracts Lab. This work is utilising CSIRO’s research and commercialisation expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to assist us in developing novel psychedelic medicines.
“This new investment will see us strengthen our business and research strategy and capabilities to achieve medical registration of botanically derived pharmaceutical-grade medicines for suitable patient cohorts.”
Tin Alley Ventures managing partner Dr Andrew McLean said psychedelic therapies are emerging as an important tool to help address a global mental health challenge.
“Psychae’s focus on developing high-quality, data-driven medical-grade medicines, accompanied by innovative new therapies and treatment platforms makes them a highly attractive investment,” he said.
Meanwhile, six early-stage startups created at Melbourne uni have been revealed at the Started@Melbourne Showcase.
- Kali Healthcare, which is developing a new at-home portable AI-powered pregnancy monitoring system, including a wearable device to provide more accessible monitoring for expectant mothers.
- NIRGenie, a Bionics Institute spinout company, which has designed and developed EarGenie to provide clinicians with information critical to the early intervention of hearing loss and language delay.
- Carbon Cybernetics, which is dramatically transforming the lives of millions of people suffering from neurological and psychiatric disorders through transformative treatments.
- Melbourne Pollen, which is providing Victorians with pollen forecasts and helping people track their individual hay fever symptoms via the Melbourne Pollen app.
- Tiny Bright Things, which is developing light microscopy tools to enable imaging and measurement at any length scale, at speed.
- Torch Recruit, a recruitment platform designed to simplify and optimise the hiring process for clinical trials, a key step towards new medical treatments and diagnostic tests.