Bloomberg Law
Aug. 19, 2021, 8:18 PM

MindBloom Hires Akin Gump Lawyer in Psychedelic Medicine Push

Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter

MindBloom LLC, a mental health and well-being company practicing psychedelic telemedicine, hired a Big Law litigator as its first in-house lawyer.

Michael Petegorsky, a commercial and intellectual property litigation counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in New York, joined MindBloom last month as general counsel. He confirmed his new top legal role in an email to Bloomberg Law.

“Psychedelic medicine is a powerful tool for improving mental health and wellness,” Petegorsky wrote in a recent message posted to LinkedIn. “I would love to connect with anyone who shares my excitement and curiosity about the sciences, technology, and law surrounding psychedelics and telemedicine.”

The hire comes at a time when psychedelic medicine is experiencing a renaissance, according to a Bloomberg News report earlier this year. Prominent entrepreneurs, such as former Sullivan & Cromwell associate-turned-technology billionaire Peter Thiel, are pushing pot aside to make hallucinogens a trendy investment.

Atai Life Sciences AG, a Thiel-backed German startup using psychedelics to treat mental health disorders, was valued at $2 billion in March after raising $157 million in Series D financing. Other companies in the space have recently gone public.

Compass Pathways PLC, a British pharmaceutical company also backed by Thiel that uses an ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms to treat depression, raised more than $145 million through an initial public offering last year on the Nasdaq exchange. Securities filings show the listing generated $1.4 million in legal fees and expenses for the company’s lawyers from Goodwin Procter.

MindBloom, which remains privately held, focuses its form of psychedelic therapy on ketamine, a medication primarily used in anesthesia.

Petegorsky said his transition to MindBloom after nearly a half-dozen years at Akin Gump—he was an associate and counsel at the firm, which he joined in 2015 from Ropes & Gray—has gone smoothly. “I’m thrilled to be part of the team,” he said.

Akin Gump is handling trademark and other IP work for MindBloom. Petegorsky said the New York-based company is also working with Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian on corporate matters and Foley & Lardner and McDermott Will & Emery on regulatory issues.

MindBloom’s founder and CEO is Dylan Beynon, who previously co-founded the Mighty Group Inc., a software company for legal and medical funding companies. Mighty, which has offices in New York and Atlanta, is led by fellow co-founder and attorney Joshua Schwadron. Petegorsky said Mighty and MindBloom are unaffiliated.

In May, Mighty hired general counsel Garrett Ordower from Lake Whillans Capital Partners LLC, a litigation finance firm where he spent the past four years as a managing director. Ordower, a former associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, joined Lake Whillans in 2017 as the litigation financier expanded its operations.

Neither Ordower nor Schwadron responded to requests for comment.

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