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Psychedelics company founded by crypto pioneer set for £10m London float

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Jonathan Bixby
Jonathan Bixby, founder of Clarify Pharma. Photo: Jonathan Bixby

A psychedelics company, founded by crypto pioneer Jonathan Bixby, has announced its intention to float in London at a value of about £10.5m ($14.5m).

Clarify Pharma, which is looking to list on the Aquis Stock Exchange, is an investment vehicle specialising in biotech and life sciences companies.

The company plans to raise approximately £5m before expenses, by way of a placing of 167 million ordinary shares at 3p each through First Sentinel Corporate Finance, its corporate adviser and joint broker, alongside Tennyson Securities. 

First dealings in the shares are expected to commence later this month.

The firm is aiming to find investment opportunities within the growing psychedelics sector, and is looking to prove the safety and efficacy of psychedelic-based substances.

Similar to the shift seen into the cannabis industry, which is now a multi-billion dollar sector, Clarify Pharma believes that the psychedelics sector will also see a rise in popularity and investment.

Read more: UK start up secures first permit this century for cannabis cultivation

Psychedelics are a class of substances whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary stages of consciousness via serotonin receptor agonism. This effect can cause specific psychological, visual and auditory changes and often a substantially altered state of consciousness.

Although psychedelics can have a recreational use, Clarify has said that it is only interested in the medicinal side.

"The reason that this is so exciting is because the the anxiety, depression and addition markets are multi-billion, or trillion dollar markets, and the reality is that the standard of care doesn't really work,” Jonathan Bixby told Yahoo Finance.

"Coming out of COVID you have all of these people, unfortunately mostly younger, that are getting more anxious and more depressed. You are seeing these pharma companies getting more and more of their drugs into the system, and it's not really working."

He added: "This whole idea is to say, hey there might be a better way... our goal is to fund those companies and those startups to try to solve what I think is the largest health crisis we are going to have in our lifetime, besides type 2 diabetes, which is anxiety and depression."

Watch: Cannabis Stock Trends: How the push for federal legalization could change the industry

Recently, there has also been a surge of interest in cannabis and cannabis-adjacent stocks listing in London after the regulatory cleared the way for medical cannabis companies to list in the UK last year.

Avihu Tamir, chief executive of Kanabo (KNB.L), one of the companies to list in London, told Yahoo Finance UK earlier this year that London could become the centre of Europe's cannabis economy.

Psychedelics are progressively emerging as alternative candidates to conventional therapies for individuals suffering from things like PTSD, addiction, Alzheimer’s, and depression, and the potential benefits of psychedelic drugs have been recognised in both the UK and in the US.

"The UK is an underserved market," Bixby said. "For me it's a green field opportunity."

Bixby, who was also a co-founder of crypto mining company Argo Blockchain (ARB.L), has more than 20 years of experience in the early stage technology sector.

Argo listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2018 as a vehicle to allow investors to tap into cryptocurrency mining.

Bitcoin mining is a process in which a bitcoin is awarded to a computer that solves a complex series of algorithms. The work is essential to maintaining the network that runs the cryptocurrency.

Argo has become one of London's hottest stocks thanks to the recent surge in cryptocurrency prices. Its share price has risen more than 3,000% since last May.

Read more: London-listed crypto stock Argo surges 20% on Texas mining deal

Bixby is also a founder of public companies including Leaf Mobile (LEAF.TO), Guild eSports (GILD.L), Pioneer Media Holdings (PNER.CN), and Cellular Goods (CBX.L).

Cellular Goods, which is a cannabis skincare company and backed by David Beckham, made its debut in London in February this year.

It offered shares at 5p in its initial public offering but saw the price of its stock climb as high as 28.5p on its first day of trading.

The "wellness" company plans to make skincare and mood enhancing products from cannabinoids, natural compounds produced by the cannabis plant.

The products will not contain THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis that makes people high. The best known cannabinoid is CBD, which has seen a boom over the last few years. Consumer goods companies have put the compound in everything from drinks to eye creams.

Beckham owns a 5% stake in the company through his holding company DB Ventures.

Watch: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?

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