Field Trip Health stock on Thursday dipped in its first day on the Nasdaq, making it the latest psychedelics-focused company hoping to use a big U.S. exchange to attract investors.
Executive Chairman Ronan Levy said in an interview ahead of the listing that Field Trip Health (FTRP) had begun to engage the pharmaceutical industry and employers about psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
The company runs a handful of therapy clinics in cities in the U.S., as well as in Toronto and Amsterdam. Patients at those clinics get a dose of ketamine — a common anesthetic better known as a rave drug — paired with more traditional talk therapy.
In May, Field Trip said former Sen. Tom Daschle had become a special advisor to the company.
In listing on the Nasdaq, Field Trip Health stock will no longer trade over the counter. Shares will continue to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, where the clinic operator listed last month.
Levy said Field Trip listed on the Toronto exchange first, in part, so that it could take advantage of a protocol under which the Nasdaq relies on the Canadian exchange’s prior vetting of the company.
“The Nasdaq is where biotech and pharma companies go to list because that’s where they’re able to attract the attention and awareness of global investors,” Levy said in an interview.
Field Trip Health Stock, Other Psychedelic Stocks
Other psychedelic drug developers — like Compass Pathways (CMPS), Atai Life Sciences (ATAI) and MindMed (MNMD) — have climbed aboard the Nasdaq. Similarly, those companies hope to pull in more investors and legitimize research on substances like psilocybin and MDMA as potential treatments for depression, anxiety and addiction.
Field Trip Health stock fell 3.4% to 5.55 in the stock market today. Compass edged up 0.8%. MindMed fell 1.9%.
Atai, which is backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, dipped 0.8% to 16.10. That stock was in an IPO base with a 23.01 entry, with 20.55 a possible early entry. But Atai stock is near the bottom of that consolidation.
Cybin, another psychedelics company, said Wednesday that it expected to being trading on the New York Stock Exchange “on or about” Aug. 5.
As with any other biotech or pharma company, the nascent psychedelics industry faces steep costs related to research and drug trials and potentially impatient investors.
Even as regulators in some nations begin sanctioning more research on the substances, approval isn’t guaranteed. Intellectual property protection will be crucial to profitability. But that profitability could be years away.
Pharma Engagement, Employers
Levy said Field Trip had funding through at least 2023. The company, for the quarter ending March 31, had cash and equivalents of around 38.5 million Canadian dollars, or around $30.8 million, with 72.6 million Canadian in short-term investments.
Revenue over that time came in at 526,435 Canadian dollars. Those sales came from patient services in its clinics in Toronto, New York, Santa Monica, Chicago and Atlanta. The company had a net loss of around 8 million dollars. Its net loss per share was 18 cents, both Canadian.
In March, Field Trip completed a bought-deal offering of around 14.7 million shares at around 6.50 Canadian dollars apiece, for a total of 95 million Canadian dollars. The lead investor was Soleus Capital, a health care investment firm.
Levy said Field Trip had been in early conversations with some pharma companies. He declined to name specific people or businesses. But he said they appeared to be curious about trial design and strategies for bringing drugs to market.
Levy also said that Field Trip had begun reaching out to employers to pitch them on including ketamine-assisted therapies in benefits and extended benefits. He said Field Trip had seven locations operating, with plans to have 20 operating or under construction before the end of the year.
Ketamine therapists typically administer the drug off-label, meaning for a use that hasn’t been cleared by regulators. Thus, insurance won’t cover the medicine itself. Patients can obtain a so-called superbill, which details the billing codes for other parts of treatment, to help with reimbursement for the therapy.
‘Inflection Point’ In Standardizing Therapy
Field Trip’s ketamine-therapy patients receive a screening before sessions begin. Patients then meet with the therapists to learn about the process and establish what they hope to accomplish with the therapy.
When they receive their dose of ketamine, patients can sit back in zero-gravity chairs, with an eye mask, headphones and a weighted blanket. Music is usually selected by the therapist. When the ketamine’s effects wear off, usually after 60 to 90 minutes, the patient can talk about what came up while under the influence.
Typically, that process happens twice a week over the course of treatment, Levy said. Patients follow each second session with talk-therapy sessions where they don’t receive ketamine.
Researchers are still trying to figure out the most effective way to use ketamine treatment with more traditional forms of therapy. Levy said Field Trip was at an “inflection point” for figuring out how to standardize that therapy.
“As much as we want to standardize things, we realize that the better outcome right now is to let our therapists, who are well-trained and well-equipped to deliver this kind of care, be responsive to the circumstances, and then guide people as they see appropriate,” Levy said.
“Because what may make sense for you doesn’t necessarily make sense for me.”
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