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Former Investment Officer of One of the World's Largest Sovereign Wealth Funds Shares His Current Focus

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Streetwise Reports sat down with Řyvind Schanke, the chief investment officer of TD Veen and the former investment officer of one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds as he shares his current focus.

While some investment companies focus solely on the bottom line, some have a much brighter goal in mind. And while money is still important to TD Veen, it is not the mission. Instead, TD Veen is a family-centered investment company with one goal in mind: to invest only in that which benefits society. We at Streetwise Reports were intrigued by TD Veen's premise, so we sat down with its chief investment officer Øyvind Schanke to learn more about TD Veen and the companies it invests in.

Øyvind Schanke joined the company in 2020 after years of investment experience. Before working with TD, Veen Schanke spent almost 16 years at the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth fund, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, the last years as the CIO for asset management based in London.

Main Investment Positions 

The public companies TD Veen invests in are listed below.

Public Companies

Country

Company 

Website

Sector

NO

Pexip

https://www.pexip.com/

Video technology / Video conferencing

NO

Statt Torsk

https://statt.no/en/

Cod Farming

NO

Nordic Halibut

https://www.nordichalibut.com/

Halibut farming

NO

Nycode

https://nykode.com/

Therapeutics Platform 

US

Atai Life Science

https://atai.life/

Mental Health Biopharma

CA

Awakn 

https://awaknlifesciences.com/

Life Sciences 

NO

Klaveness Combination Carriers

https://www.combinationcarriers.com/

Carbon Efficient Shipping

NO

CO2 Capsol

https://www.co2capsol.com/home

Carbon Capture

US/AUS

Bionomics ADS

https://www.bionomics.com.au/

Biopharma

NO

Quantafuel

https://www.quantafuel.com/

Wast handling technology

You can download a full list of their investment positions. However, no matter the investment, TD Veen was founded under the premise that people needed to invest in social entrepreneurship, so the company keeps a boutique list of companies under its list, with a special focus on the health and life science sectors, especially mental health.

Why TD Invests in Mental Health

While Schanke spoke positively about emergency care within Norway's public health system, he pointed out an incredible need to increase the quality of preventative care in his country.

He said, "there is no cure, just a bandaid," especially regarding addiction and other mental health disorders. 

Norway has an incredibly high suicide rate per capita, with 10.9 suicides per 100,000. In fact, according to The Borgen Project, "about half of all people in Norway experience a mental health disorder at some point in their life," and this has only been exacerbated by Covid-19. 

In fact, according to The Borgen Project, "about half of all people in Norway experience a mental health disorder at some point in their life."

Not only are Norwegians experiencing higher rates of mental illness due to Covid-19, but the lack of light during the winter months can make things a lot worse by adding seasonal affective disorder on top of general issues.

Linda Geddes from The Atlantic gave an overview of this issue and spoke with those in Northern European countries to get their personal take on how the lack of light in winter months affects them here

The main treatment for depression is currently therapy and antidepressants, which Norwegians take a lot of. However, while antidepressants can calm the symptoms of depression, they don't go to the root of the problem. This is why the team at TD Veen saw an overarching need for more comprehensive mental health care within Norway and the world, so they put their money where their heart is and began investing in it — literally.

Chart Source: Dadaviz. Data Source: OECD.

TD Veen first built a relationship with Atai Life Sciences NV (ATAI:NASDAQ), a mental-health-focused bio-pharmaceutical company headquartered in Berlin, Germany. This began in 2018, as Øyvind Schanke had a call with the company and decided he needed to learn more about the medicinal use of psychedelics in treating mental health disorders. He then met with the company in Oslo, where he was introduced to Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (AWKN:NEO; AWKNF:OTCQB), a biopharma company using controversial drugs to treat alcohol use disorder and other addictions. Currently, Awakn is using ketamin in their clinics, with five clinics in total, two of which are in Norway. They are also in the middle of trials for MDMA.

Psychedelics a Burgeoning Market

While the use of psychedelics is a controversial practice, it is gaining more and more traction. Research and Markets predicted that the global psychedelic drugs market would reach US$10.75 billion by 2027. And this is not for recreational use but rather for its ability to aid in treating mental illness. A study from the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London found that psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, could be just as effective as anti-depressants in a clinical setting. 

In 2022, Netflix released a docu-series on the waves psychedelics have been making in the bio-pharma world titled "How to Change Your Mind." 

The third episode of the series focuses heavily on the history of MDMA, its effects, and how it could be used to treat both PTSD and addiction as the drug turns off the fear center of the brain, allowing for a patient and therapist to dig into deepest wounds without pain or fear.

"The unmet medical need and opportunity for innovative approaches to treatment is very high," Maxim Equity Research's Jason McCarthy wrote.

Overall, studies have shown the positive effects of MDMA on these patients, and this is one of the reasons TD Veen is now a proud investor in Awakn. Øyvind Schanke told Streetwise Reports, "We believe in combining the [MDMD] compound with therapy at Awakn, and that is our belief that it needs to happen . . .  I know this is needed."

It seems many analysts agree with him. In July, H.C. Wainright & Co. Senior Healthcare Analyst Patrick Trucchio noted that "Awakn is advancing MDMA-assisted therapy for AUD in Europe, which we estimate could have blockbuster drug potential based on the significant unmet medical need and evidence generated to-date pointing to the potential of MDMA-assisted therapy in a variety of mood disorders."

Then in November, Maxim Equity Research's Jason McCarthy wrote, "Considering that private addiction treatment comes with a 70%-80% fail rate and treatment can cost north of US$30K, the opportunity for Awakn to improve this model is significant." He went on to say, "The unmet medical need and opportunity for innovative approaches to treatment is very high."

Awakn currently has five main clinics in Norway, and both the company and TD Veen hope this will continue to expand.

What's Next?

Going forward, TD Veen will continue to invest in companies that, in their eyes, improve the world. They aim to generate enough funds so that exits aren't needed because the fewer exists, the better. In 2022, TD Veen only had four exits and invested in six new companies. As Schanke said, "We want to be the world’s best minority shareholder."

TD Veen was founded by Tor Dagfinn Veen in 1986. According to the company, "Today, Tor Dagfinn and Tone Veen own 28% of the shares, while daughters Camilla and Silje Veen own 36% each.

TD Veen has US$250 million under management, and they do not currently take money globally but focus on their family-centered business model. They are headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, and no matter what they invest in, they will do so under their mantra: An investment is only good if it also benefits society.


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Disclosures:
1) Katherine DeGilio wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC. She or members of her household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. She or members of her household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.

2) The following companies mentioned in this article are billboard sponsors of Streetwise Reports: Awakn Life Sciences Corp. Click here for important disclosures about sponsor fees. As of the date of this article, an affiliate of Streetwise Reports has a consulting relationship with: Awakn Life Sciences Corp. Please click here for more information.

3) Statements and opinions expressed are the opinions of the author and not of Streetwise Reports or its officers. The author is wholly responsible for the validity of the statements. The author was not paid by Streetwise Reports for this article. Streetwise Reports was not paid by the author to publish or syndicate this article. Streetwise Reports requires contributing authors to disclose any shareholdings in, or economic relationships with, companies that they write about. Streetwise Reports relies upon the authors to accurately provide this information and Streetwise Reports has no means of verifying its accuracy.

4) This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports' terms of use and full legal disclaimer. This article is not a solicitation for investment. Streetwise Reports does not render general or specific investment advice and the information on Streetwise Reports should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Streetwise Reports does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company mentioned on Streetwise Reports.

5) From time to time, Streetwise Reports LLC and its directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles and interviews on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned. Directors, officers, employees or members of their immediate families are prohibited from making purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise from the time of the decision to publish an article until three business days after the publication of the article. The foregoing prohibition does not apply to articles that in substance only restate previously published company releases. As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of Awakn Life Sciences Corp., a company mentioned in this article.




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