SoftBank is betting on health apps that function like medicine

FASTCOMPANY, 19/01/2022

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Beesens TEAM

SoftBank is betting on health apps that function like medicine

"SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 is betting on digital therapeutics—apps that function like medicine. The Japanese investment conglomerate led a $75 million funding round in San Francisco-based Big Health, which uses mobile apps to treat sleeplessness and anxiety. The investment may be indicative of the kinds of digital therapeutics companies that are likely to receive investment in the year ahead.

Founded in 2010, Big Health has taken a well-regarded psychological treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and made it entirely digital—no humans involved. Similar companies in the space, most notably Pear Therapeutics, which uses CBT to treat substance use disorder, have sought approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so that their digital therapeutics can be prescribed, increasing the likelihood that insurers will cover them. But Big Health has taken a different tack. Its apps, Sleepio (insomnia) and Daylight (anxiety), can be used by anyone without a prescription.

To get the apps covered by insurers, the company has spent lots of time building up academic studies proving their efficacy, with 13 randomized controlled trials. A 2021 study found that Sleepio, when used in conjunction with weekly therapy sessions for depression or anxiety, led to improved sleep compared to therapy alone. The difference in results was not earth-shattering (65% of Sleepio users recovered from sleeplessness, versus 59% of the control group)..." Lire la suite