Canadian health insurers processed nearly $600 million in mental health service claims in 2021, up 75% from 2019 as more Canadians tapped into their mental health benefits. According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) president and CEO, 2021 was a year of recovery, making mental health support increasingly important. Despite rising demand for mental health care, only 19% of companies in Canada increased their maximum coverage for mental health last year. Luckily, that seems to be changing with several employers beginning to expand their offerings. At the same time, increased awareness surrounding mental wellness is creating an opportunity for companies like Numinus Wellness (TSX:NUMI) (OTCQX:NUMIF), HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA), Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SAGE), LifeStance Health Group (NASDAQ:LFST), and Acadia Healthcare (NASDAQ:ACHC) to shine.
Numinus Wellness Inc. (TSX:NUMI) (OTCQX:NUMIF) is a mental health care company focused on advancing innovative mental health care and safe, evidence-based psychedelic-assisted therapies. Numinus offers a wide range of mental healthcare services, from counseling and therapy to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to Ketamine-assisted therapy and psychedelic-assisted therapy through Canada’s Special Access Program (SAP).
Numinus has continued to expand its network of clinics and currently operates 13 clinics across Canada and the United States.
On September 22, Numinus announced the opening of a new Montreal location to replace an existing downtown clinic. The new site will have expanded capacity to offer ketamine treatments, including different administrations of ketamine (Spravato, intramuscular, lozenge and nasal spray) and a wider variety of ketamine-assisted therapy options.
Right now, Numinus offers a six-week ketamine-assisted therapy program for the treatment of addiction, depression, anxiety and trauma. The new services will allow patients the option to receive ketamine as a standalone treatment to complement prior ketamine-assisted therapy and can be used as an emergency antidepressant or with therapy from an external health provider.
The company has also expanded its offerings at its Toronto clinic, the Neurology Centre of Toronto (NCT). NCT now offers Ketamine-assisted therapy for individuals with neurologic conditions, including brain injury, epilepsy, concussion, and functional neurological disorders.
NCT includes a team of over 20 specialists offering a comprehensive range of services including primary neurologic care and supportive therapies. The clinic’s new ketamine-assisted therapy service will be led by a psychologist and follow existing protocol for such therapies, which are already being used at the company’s other locations in the US and Canada.
“Following a thorough evaluation, Numinus found NCT’s existing infrastructure, client base and practitioners to be highly suitable for offering ketamine-assisted therapy. Mental health challenges are commonly associated with neurologic diagnoses and ketamine-assisted therapy is a promising tool that we now have available for our patients,” said Dr. Evan Lewis, VP of Psychedelic Neurology at Numinus. “The use of ketamine-assisted therapy within the field of neurology is novel, and we look forward to expanding access for our patients and contributing to the body of knowledge regarding ketamine applications.”
Numinus Wellness also revealed that NCT’s expanded offering will also support applications for Health Canada’s Special Access Programme (SAP) for other psychedelic-assisted therapies. The SAP is a federal program that allows patients with serious or life-threatening conditions to apply for access to investigational medical treatments not yet available to the public, including therapies using psychedelics like MDMA and psilocybin.
Numinus Wellness also provided an update recently on the Novamind acquisition integration in the US. The company’s newly acquired US clinics performed well in fiscal Q4, with a significant increase in customer appointments in recent months. Across August, nearly 6,200 customer appointments were held in Canada and the United States, a 25% increase over July. The company’s eight US wellness clinics – six in Utah and two in Arizona – completed over 4,900 customer appointments in August, a 22% increase over July.
Numinus is working to extend its Ketamine-assisted therapy product across Canada. Ketamine Therapy sessions jumped 35% from July to 1,520 visits in August at Numinus‘ US facilities. The demand for TMS services is also increasing. In August, the company conducted 725 TMS engagements, a 23% increase over the previous month.
Research Continues In the Mental Health Field
HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA) announced that it will work with Johnson & Johnson to address critical healthcare industry issues. Improvements in patient outcomes, nursing assistance, and health equity will be the initial focus of the two top healthcare companies. HCA Healthcare continuously enhances treatment using information from more than 35 million patient visits annually. In addition, HCA Healthcare, one of the top employers of Registered Nurses (RNs) in the country with over 93,000 RNs, makes significant investments in nurses and the nursing profession through training and professional development, technology and equipment, and tools to support their physical and emotional wellbeing, and representation at all levels of the business, from the front lines to senior leadership.
Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SAGE) is advancing a clinical program portfolio that includes internally discovered unique chemical entities that have the potential to become differentiated medications that improve brain health by targeting the GABAA and NMDA receptor systems. Many neurological and neuropsychiatric illnesses are thought to be caused by dysfunction in these systems. Sage stated that enrollment in the SUNBIRD Study, which examines the safe use of ZULRESSO as a therapy for PPD in a woman’s home, has concluded. In Q2 2022, net revenue from ZULRESSO sales was $1.5 million, compared to $1.6 million in the same time in 2021.
LifeStance Health Group (NASDAQ:LFST) earned a revenue of $209.5 million in the second quarter, up or 31%, from $160.5 million. Total clinicians increased by 31% to 5,226 in the second quarter, a net gain of 237. Net loss amounted to $68.7 million compared to $70.0 million in the prior-year quarter, principally due to $57.5 million in stock-based compensation expense. Adjusted EBITDA of $14.6 million increased from $14.5 million to $14.6 million. Due to revised clinician seasonality assumptions, LifeStance expects full-year 2022 revenue and Center Margin to be towards the low end of the previously projected ranges of $865 million to $885 million and $240 million to $255 million, respectively. The company reiterated its guidance for adjusted EBITDA of $63 million to $67 million.
On September 14, Acadia Healthcare (NASDAQ:ACHC) reported that a subset of its network of acute care behavioural health institutions will participate in a registration-directed trial to research patients with suicide ideas who are also suffering from severe depression. Seelos Therapeutics is funding this research for its experimental medication SLS-002. Acadia hospitals that meet the criteria for clinical trial site participation will be able to enroll eligible patients who display specified symptoms and meet the enrollment conditions in this study.
Numinus Wellness is actively adding to the body of primary and clinical psychedelic research through its integrated strategy and providing best-in-class therapy regimens across its clinics.
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