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German biotech startup raises $43 million for psychedelic medicines

In this illustration, multi-colored pills make up a large dollar sign.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

ATAI Life Sciences, a German biotech startup focused on depression and other mental health disorders, raised $43 million in Series B funding. Subversive Capital led, and was joined by return backers like Apeiron Investment Group and Bail Capital.

Why it matters: This is the largest-ever venture round for a developer of psychedelic medicines, and comes after the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson's use of a different psychedelic agent for treating depression.

The bottom line: "After recreational use of psychedelics became popular in the 1960s, the U.S. government classified most of them "drugs of abuse" with no real medical value. However, recent clinical studies show mounting evidence that some psychedelics can help patients with certain mental illnesses." — Christina Farr, CNBC

Go deeper: Marijuana, psychedelics get a second look from Big Pharma