Ketamine-based antidepressant start-up Small Pharma clinches £830,000

London-based company will use funding to formulate a proof-of-concept ketamine product ahead of clinical trials

Small Pharma, a London-based pharmaceutical start-up, has raised £830,000 in funding led by Chris Torrance, co-founder of Horizon Discovery, alongside the Angel CoFund, Steve Harris, David Ebsworth, Peter Keen and Young Gun Tom Valentine.

The round was supplemented by a £140,000 grant from Innovate UK and also included 63 additional angels from a campaign on angel investing platform SyndicateRoom.

Founded in 2015 by Peter Rands, Small Pharma develops low-cost pharmaceutical products and is currently working on an antidepressant based on a derivative of ketamine.

Clinical trials have demonstrated its effectiveness using intravenous infusions, but this requires the presence of a healthcare professional and is vulnerable to adverse side effects and abuse.

Targeting the estimated 615 million people suffering from anxiety and depression worldwide, Small Pharma will use the funding to formulate a ketamine product that overcomes these challenges ahead of proof-of-concept clinical trials.

Rands commented: “We are extremely excited to team up with a fantastic set of investors, enabling us to take this project further over the next two years.  Depression remains severely undertreated, and with these funds in place we can move forward with a focus on developing our drug candidate to help address the unmet needs of patients with depression.”

Torrance added: “Developing drugs of this nature has to be a priority. Current antidepressants typically take six to twelve weeks before a response is established. A fast acting drug, with a novel yet proven mechanism with reduced side-effects would be transformative in bridging this treatment gap.”





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