TYSONS, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Cell Partners, an incubation firm building and investing in technology-led companies that bring revolutionary advancements to healthcare and national security, has announced $3 million in pre-seed funding for TARA Mind, a mental health company that enables safe and affordable access to psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT).
TARA Mind is emerging from stealth as more than 70 million Americans grapple with mental health conditions and suicide ranks as a leading cause of death in the United States. In spite of this – and more than $280 billion spent on mental health services in 2020 – more than 50% of individuals with a mental health condition did not receive any treatment last year. It has been decades since antidepressants entered the market, and while these drugs are effective for some, they are ineffectual for the nearly 1 in 3 individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who suffer from treatment-resistant depression (TRD). The problem is a large and complicated one exacerbated by misaligned incentives, a global pandemic, and deep-rooted stigma surrounding psychedelics and other alternative therapies.
The infusion of capital will fuel the company’s mission to address the systemic issues of accessibility and affordability, as well as mounting care quality and treatment efficacy hurdles. To achieve this, it is building an industry-leading network of vetted PAT providers across the US and abroad and is developing proprietary digital measurement-based care tools designed to ensure safety, optimize outcomes, and trigger early interventions when necessary. These tools will be exclusively available to its global provider network and will underpin the data-driven measurement framework that supports value-based reimbursement for PAT by both employers and payors. The company is also working with early-adopter employers to add the TARA Mind network as a supplemental benefit to existing health plans, thereby removing health equity barriers while driving ROI for the employer through significant reductions in employee medical costs, absenteeism, and turnover.
“Far too many people are being failed by our country’s outdated approach to mental health care,” said Red Cell CEO and TARA Mind Co-Founder, Grant Verstandig. “By expanding safe and equitable access to alternative psychedelic therapies, TARA Mind aims to meet this urgent societal need and shape the future of mental health care in America.”
To further address issues of safety and efficacy, the company has codified The TARA Mind Way™, a set of standards established in partnership with clinicians to guarantee the availability of wraparound services for clients. This clinician-guided process – collectively known as PTIM™ – ensures that individuals who receive treatment through the TARA Mind Provider Network are receiving care that incorporates Preparation, Treatment, Integration, and Monitoring, the well-established hallmarks of effective and safe psychedelic treatment.
The Public Benefit Corporation is led by TARA Mind CEO and Co-Founder Marcus Capone, a veteran Navy SEAL who, following 13 years of active combat duty, returned home to face his own battle with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression. Capone spent years undergoing traditional mental health treatments but nothing worked. In 2017, he turned to PAT as a last resort. “I know what it’s like to feel as though you’re out of options,” said Capone. “My experience with psychedelic-assisted therapy changed my life. People need to know that even on their darkest days, there is hope.”
Immediately following his PAT treatment, Capone was overcome with the desire to share his experience with others in need. This determination to help people heal led him and his wife to found VETS® (Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions), a pioneering 501(c)(3) organization on a mission to end veteran suicide. Inspired by the success of VETS and recognizing the need to expand access to PAT beyond the veteran community, the concept of TARA Mind took root.
“After millennia of ceremonial and individual use, there is growing appreciation for the potential of psychedelic medicine to treat even the most devastating of psychiatric and related conditions,” said Capone, “but the industry is still in its infancy. At TARA Mind, we aren’t being guided by ‘the buzz’ around psychedelics, nor are we chasing a quick profit from lingering loopholes in a post-COVID world. Rooted in our commitment to science and sound clinical practices, we are diligently building the scaffolding for the safe, affordable, long-lasting use of psychedelic-assisted therapy in America.”
In service of this mission, TARA Mind has convened a roster of renowned medical advisors to help define, iterate, and advance the standard of care for PAT. They include Sandhya Prashad, MD, Founder and President of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians, Psychotherapists, and Practitioners; Jerry Rosenbaum, MD, Harvard Medical School’s Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry; Nolan Williams, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; and Rachel Yehuda, PhD, an Endowed Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience of Trauma at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“I am optimistic that the nascent psychedelic industry will provide needed new tools for treatment, but there remain significant uncertainties about delivery, scalability, and access to quality care when that time comes,” said Dr. Jerry Rosenbaum. “TARA Mind is poised to address these challenges as it works to become a responsible and unifying voice that helps to establish clinician-informed standards of care for these emerging alternative therapies and to enable, above all else, the safe and equitable access to psychedelic medicine that so many in our country desperately need.”
About Red Cell Partners
Red Cell Partners is an incubation firm building rapidly-scalable technology-led companies that are bringing revolutionary advancements to market in healthcare and national security. United by a shared sense of duty and deep belief in the power of innovation, Red Cell is developing powerful tools and solutions to address our Nation’s most pressing problems. Learn more at redcellpartners.com and follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter,).
About TARA Mind
TARA Mind is Public Benefit Corporation founded in 2022 to expand safe, affordable, and effective access to psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT). Rooted in science and sound clinical practice, the company has built a network of vetted providers across the US and abroad to deliver PAT and is equipping them with proprietary digital measurement-based care tools that underpin the data-driven framework that supports value-based reimbursements for PAT by both employers and payors. Learn more at www.taramind.com and follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter).