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Tema expands its life sciences fund suite with the Tema Neuroscience and Mental Health ETF (MNTL)

Tema - Press release
By Tema - Press release
January 23, 2024

Tema ETFs (“Tema”) is excited to announce the launch of its Tema Neuroscience and Mental Health ETF (MNTL), on Nasdaq. MNTL is the first actively managed ETF seeking to provide long-term growth by investing in companies leading the fight against neurological diseases and psychiatric disorders. The MNTL portfolio will be managed by David K. Song, MD, PhD, CFA, who has led biotechnology and healthcare investment teams throughout his extensive 25-year career, including roles at Rockefeller Capital Management, Millennium and Balyasny. The portfolio will be balanced across key technologies and company profiles, ranging from diagnostics and care to therapeutics and clinical products, and with exposure to both established and emerging biopharma companies.

“The MNTL ETF extends a third pillar to our strategic life sciences fund offerings, which aim at providing investors with a better, innovative way to invest in the field.” said Maurits Pot, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Tema. “As with our Oncology and GLP-1, Obesity & Cardiometabolic funds, our Neuroscience and Mental Health fund offers targeted exposure to a major life sciences field that we feel is witnessing an acceleration in breakthrough innovations, transforming patient lives and outcomes. As these areas burgeon with innovation and the investment universe expands, we feel there is a growing need for domain expertise and active management to navigate risk.”

Central nervous system (CNS) diseases are a significant burden on society, affecting over one billion people worldwide[1]. Major mental diseases include for example Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, which is estimated to affect 55 million people worldwide[2]. Depression and Schizophrenia together affect 300 million people globally or nearly 6% of all adults[3]. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death globally and a leading cause of disability[4]. Rare neurological genetic disorders, a group of 1,700 different diseases, though rare, can be devastating particularly as they tend to disproportionately affect children.

Today CNS diseases are arguably the most unmet need in medicine. Until last year the treatments for dementia only focused on treating symptoms and not modifying the disease. As a result, the economic cost of caring for these patients in the US alone is 12x that of cancer[5]. Even though some treatments for Depression and Schizophrenia exist, 70% of patients with major depressive disorder that take standard of care still experience residual symptoms[6]. Poor mental health is estimated to cost the global economy $6 trillion by 2030[7].

Fortunately, recent breakthroughs offer hope that we are a turning point across multiples areas. “We are at a pivotal moment in neuroscience”, said David K. Song, MNTL portfolio manager. “Breakthroughs are happening across the field – from the first disease modifying agents for Alzheimer’s disease, to new genetic tools for rare children’s neurological disorders, and precision approaches to treating mental health. In fact, neurology has become the second most important therapy area in industry pipelines in 2023, representing around 940 separate clinical programs[8]. This is creating in our view a large and varied investment universe. As the biotech sector has undergone its sharpest downturn in decades, we feel that investors have been offered a compelling valuation opportunity set against accelerating innovation.”

For more information about MNTL or other offerings, please visit


[1] WHO, 2007.

[2] Alzheimer's Disease International, 2024.

[3] ScienceDirect, Pharmacogenomics in treatment of depression and psychosis: an update, Marin Jukic, Filip Milosavljević, Espen Molden, Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg, 2022.

[4] JNJ Investor Day 2023.

[5] J&J Innovative Medicine Business Overview, 2022.

[6] European Medicines Agency, September 2023.

[7] The Lancet, Mental health matters, November, 2020

[8] IQVIA, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The Long Road to Success in CNS, 2023.