New Psychedelics and Mental Health Research Centre Officially Opens | Press releases

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New Psychedelics and Mental Health Research Centre Officially Opens

The Centre for Mental Health Research and Innovation officially opened on 15 November 2023 to accelerate research into psychedelics and develop new models of care for mental health. 

The new Centre is part of a pioneering long-term strategic partnership between biotechnology company Compass Pathways, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology &Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London. 

Located at the Maudsley Hospital in South London, the dedicated and purpose-built space will be run by leading clinical investigators, Professor Allan Young, Head of Academic Psychiatry at King’s College London, and Dr James Rucker, Consultant Psychiatrist and Lead of the Psychoactive Trials Group at King’s College London. The centre’s research will initially focus on areas of urgent need, including treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia nervosa. 

David Bradley, Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: 

We are excited to be running part of this pivotal phase 3 study at the new Centre for Mental Health Research at our Maudsley Hospital site in south London.

The newly launched Centre is part of a research partnership which will help to develop innovative treatment with the goal of improving mental health care for people across the UK. Our world-leading clinicians will work closely with researchers at the new Centre and will begin with a focus on areas of urgent need, such as post- traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa and treatment-resistant depression.

Professor Allan Young, Head of Academic Psychiatry, King’s College London said:

Today marks a milestone for research into the use of psychedelics to treat mental health conditions. Over several years we have moved to phase 3 clinical trials for psilocybin and treatment-resistant depression, an achievement that would not have been possible without the facilities and staff of the NIHR King’s Clinical Research Facility.  

Now with this new Centre, the continuing partnership between Compass Pathways, King’s College London and South London and Maudsley is embarking on the next stage of research where we can evaluate the safety and effectiveness of psychedelics to treat a range of mental health conditions, explore the mechanisms behind how psychedelics might work and assess the feasibility for their delivery at scale.

The Centre will assist in the development of new models of care to help integrate these investigational treatments into healthcare systems, if approved in the future. This will include evaluating real-world evidence, researching and developing digital technologies that may help to deliver personalized, predictive and preventative care models, and conducting therapist training. 

Cutting red ribbon of new centre
Pictured (left to right): Kabir Nath, George Goldsmith, Ekaterina Malievskaia, Professor Allan Young, Dr James Rucker, David Bradley

Kabir Nath, CEO, Compass Pathways, said:

Every 40 seconds, someone dies from suicide; tens of millions more live with mental health conditions for which there is no good standard of care.

We’re proud to partner with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London to open the new Centre for Mental Health Research and Innovation. Together, we are conducting cutting-edge research to develop new solutions for mental illnesses and ensure these potential treatments are broadly and equitably accessible to those who need them the most.

Professor Matthew Hotopf CBE, Executive Dean, IoPPN, said,

This partnership shows how working across academia, the NHS and industry can accelerate the development of exciting new treatments for mental disorders. Early stage support from funders such as the NIHR make it possible to establish the potential of novel treatments so we can  work between partners in different sectors to find better treatments, which are so badly needed.  The new Centre will help accelerate the development of new much-needed therapies.

The psychoactive trials group based at the IoPPN brings together researchers and clinicians from King’s College London and South London and Maudsley to study psychedelics as a treatment for a range of mental health conditions including TRD, anorexia and PTSD. Much of this research has taken place at the NIHR King’s Clinical Research Facilityand been supported by National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, whose interim director Professor Grainne McAlonan is leading an investigative study into psilocybin and autism.