A new partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (the “Trust”), the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London (“KCL”) and mental health care company COMPASS Pathways (“COMPASS”) will launch the Centre for Mental Health Research and Innovation, a new facility dedicated to cutting-edge research into COMP360 psilocybin therapy and developing new models of mental healthcare in the UK.

Capsticks has advised the Trust on entering a master research collaboration agreement with KCL and Compass, facilitating the principles of their partnership which will lead to new mental health treatments and highly effective care models. For more information please see the press release.

A new kind of partnership to benefit NHS providers, the pharmaceutical sector and research institutions

The master research collaboration agreement will enable the parties to work together for the duration of the partnership under a clear governance framework, reducing the need to continuously re-negotiate aspects of the relationship and minimising disruption to the actual delivery of the Centre for Mental Health Research and Innovation and the research the parties will be conducting.

The project works in the interest of all parties, with the Trust benefitting from:

  • one of its buildings being re-developed and used to improve mental healthcare;
  • the construction of separate, brand-new healthcare facilities with financial support from a private provider; and
  • the opportunity to contribute to the development of therapies.

With support from the Trust, COMPASS will gain much-needed space and academic resources to conduct its trials, gather new data and develop better treatments, while King’s College London will be able to access support and resources from healthcare providers to conduct innovative research and contribute to progress in mental health treatments.

Capsticks’ support to the Trust

Our corporate and commercial and real estate experts worked closely together to advise on key aspects of the collaboration, comprising real estate, intellectual property, data protection and advice on conducting clinical trials.

We navigated the client through this innovative project from beginning to end, making sure that the parties’ interests ultimately align.

Negotiating great outcomes for all parties

A major aspect of our work concerned the collaboration itself, which needed to take into account everyone’s priorities and to safeguard the Trust’s estate and data.

Getting the details right

To ensure that the parties had in place a flexible, yet robust agreement, our team focussed on setting out the governance of the partnership, as well as preparing separate arrangements to cater for the different strands comprising the project, such as in relation to property development and rules for conducting clinical trials.

Robust planning against future challenges

As with all innovative projects, the challenge was to pre-empt the parties’ plans and anticipate issues that may arise in future. Our team worked with the three partner organisations to agree in advance as many aspects of the project as possible and create a host of template documents which will help everyone manage the collaboration long-term and independently.

What NHS trusts need to consider when entering new forms of public private partnerships

When entering into collaboration agreements, it is important to envisage what success would look like from the outset. A clear set of governance principles is key to enable the parties to maintain fluidity, especially in long term partnerships. The needs of public and private sector organisations can be very different, so it’s best to have a strong legal team by your side to:

  • guide you on what is in your best interests and what new opportunities can be accessed, especially when the project is unique;
  • minimise future risk; and
  • help you see the bigger picture when negotiating with organisations from the private healthcare and academic/research sectors.

With the help of our Capsticks teams, the Trust can now collaborate with its partners under the guidance of a secure agreement protecting its rights and interests for the long-term future, while contributing to real innovation in mental healthcare for benefit of its patients.

How Capsticks can help on your projects

Setting the standard for the “mental healthcare clinic of the future”, the Centre is a true example of what innovative public-private partnerships can achieve to generate additional income for the NHS and broaden patients’ access to ground-breaking research and specialist treatments. We would be very happy to discuss with you how our work on this project and similar schemes could be applied for the benefit of your organisation.

Please contact Stephen Tainsh and Matthew Hunter for further details.