Europe’s first psychedelic drugs research lab is coming to London

British start-up Clerkenwell Health aims to begin trials at its central London facility in August.

Europe’s first commercial facility for clinical trials of psychedelic drugs is set to open in London this summer.

British start-up Clerkenwell Health will begin trials of psilocybin - naturally found in mushrooms - in August, which can help patients after they’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Psilocybin is found naturally in mushrooms

The Barbican-based company is also working with American organisation Mindset and Mydecine to develop psychedelic treatments for PTSD and addiction.

It is also in discussions with drug developers looking at mood disorders, trauma-related conditions and addictions.

Staff are also exploring mental health conditions that have not been previously targeted with psychedelic assisted therapies.

Researchers started using psychedelics in mental health treatment in the 1950s.

However the UK government banned LSD in 1967 and psilocybin in 1971, putting a halt to psychedelic research.

Since then Imperial College London launched the first formal centre for psychedelic research in the world in 2019, putting the UK on the map for research in this field.

Tom McDonald, chief executive officer at Clerkenwell Health, said: “Psychedelic assisted therapy could be ground-breaking for mental health treatment, and the UK is well-placed to be at the vanguard of that as a global leader in clinical trials post-Brexit.

“Clerkenwell Health’s aim is to establish the UK as the heart of the commercial psychedelic research ecosystem, working closely with mental health experts and drug developers around the world to tackle some of the most complex mental health conditions.

“With a huge rise in people contacting mental health services in recent years, and with one in 10 consultant psychiatric posts in the NHS currently unfilled, there has never been a more desperate need to identify new and innovative treatments.”

The company has also launched a first-of-its-kind training programme for therapists looking to work with psychedelic drugs.