Los Angeles-based startup AppliedVR has raised $29 million in a Series A round led by F-Prime Capital along with Jazz Ventures, Sway Ventures, and GSR Ventures, among others. With this fresh infusion of funds, the company’s total tally comes up to $35 million.
Chronic pain affects nearly 20% of the US adult population which is around 50 million people and puts them at high risk for opioid addiction. NSAIDs, opioids, injections, implants, and surgeries have been the conventional methods to treat pain but problems such as poor access, addiction, and catastrophic spending stand in the way of the patients using them as effective pain management solutions.
“Into that breach storms this idea of using virtual reality as a new modality for managing pain,” said Matthew Stoudt, Founder of AppliedVR.
Virtual reality seems like a promising solution in such a scenario and the technology has been utilized as an analgesic for a while now. Even though the biological mechanism of its working is still unclear, the technology works by distracting the brain from pain. Stoudt partnered with David Sackman for the venture who had given a TEDx talk that had inspired the idea. The two then collaborated with Josh Sackman and founded AppliedVR in 2015.
Unlike other companies working in the same domain, AppliedVR focuses on designing headsets that patients could use at their homes as opposed to the idea of visiting a healthcare facility to access the therapy.
A recent study published in The Journal of Medical Internet Research showcases the effectiveness of technology as the participating patients reported a reduction in pain and improved quality of sleep.
Such studies have been a major convincing factor for investors to put in money in the idea. “They have compelling data and clinical results,” said Jon Lim, Partner, F-Prime Capital, one of the leading series A investors.
The funds will be put towards obtaining robust data and evaluating the effects of virtual reality therapy. The company expects to get FDA approval for VR prescription therapy for lower back pain and launch its product by 2022.
“As technology becomes more fun, we have an opportunity in digital health to empower patients to take control of their own health,” Stoudt added.
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