Chronic pain currently affects approximately one-third of all Americans and estimated to cost as much as $635 billion each year, making it more expensive than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined. While most people, especially seniors, have relied on pharmacological interventions to treat their pain, digital therapeutics like VR have emerged as an effective, safe, and potentially cost-saving solution. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for more digital therapeutic treatments that can be delivered safely in patients’ homes.
Enter AppliedVR, a Los Angeles-based digital therapeutics pioneering the next generation of digital medicine and virtual reality-based treatments that address the complexity of chronic pain. Since its inception six years ago, AppliedVR has delivered scientifically designed and validated digital health solutions to over 20,000 patients in more than 250 hospitals and in 8 countries globally. Rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness, AppliedVR empowers patients with the tools to live life, beyond chronic pain.
Today, AppliedVR announced it has raised $29 million in series A funding to accelerate the company’s growth as it pursues full FDA approval over the next year. The round, which includes key investors F-Prime Capital, JAZZ Venture Partners, Sway Ventures, GSR Ventures, Magnetic Ventures, and Cedars-Sinai, brings the company’s total funds raised to date to $35 million.
Founded in 2015 by David Sackman, Josh Sackman, and Matthew Stoudt, AppliedVR provides virtual reality-based treatments aimed at comprehensively treating chronic pain. Combining well-established cognitive-behavioral therapies with mindfulness exercises, the company’s EaseVRx solution recently became the first virtual reality (VR) prescription therapeutic to receive Breakthrough Device Designation from the FDA for treatment-resistant fibromyalgia and chronic intractable lower back pain. The company also just released results from its pivotal eight-week randomized clinical trial, finding that the EaseVRx device produced “clinically meaningful” improvement in multiple pain outcomes, and had high participant satisfaction and engagement.
“Chronic pain is one of the most common medical conditions in the world, yet it still is incredibly debilitating to patients, costly to the system and complex to treat. While our mission has always been to demonstrate that VR can be a powerful analgesic in any setting, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a surge in demand for digital medicines like VR that can be delivered safely to patients in their own homes,” said Matthew Stoudt, co-founder and CEO of AppliedVR. “As a leading evidence-backed VR therapeutics provider in healthcare, we’re committed to meaningfully improving the lives of people suffering from chronic pain by making VR the standard of care for treating chronic pain in a provider-prescribed, payer-reimbursed model.”
AppliedVR’s technology is already in use by more than 200 of the top healthcare provider organizations in the world, including Geisinger and Cleveland Clinic, who are advancing separate NIDA-funding clinical trials to study VR as an opioid-sparing tool for acute and chronic pain. The company also has partnered with University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) to study how digital therapeutic platforms, including virtual and augmented reality, can be used to improve care access for underserved populations. AppliedVR also is engaged with multiple payers, testing VR as a cost-effective solution for treating chronic pain.
“We’re big believers in the potential for digital therapeutics to transform outcomes for patients with challenging conditions, and we have been closely evaluating the market for solutions for some time. AppliedVR stood out as a great choice for our first prescription digital therapeutics investment,” said Jon Lim, partner at F-Prime. “With its market potential, solid executive team, and commitment to providing evidence-based therapies, we’re confident that AppliedVR will become a leader in digital medicine.”
AppliedVR’s program has been used to help more than 60,000 patients to manage their expectations of pain. With today’s investment, the company plans to continue EaseVRx’s FDA approval pathway, conduct more payer pilots, develop its product pipeline, and build out its clinical, marketing, and sales teams. AppliedVR also was just named as a 2021 Fast Company Most Innovative Company in the augmented and virtual reality category.