As the pandemic rages on, virtual care options have investors champing at the bit. Boston-based Pear Therapeutics is the latest to benefit, reeling in $80 million to commercialize its three prescription digital therapeutics.
The digital therapeutics umbrella encompasses technology like mobile apps and telemedicine platforms designed to prevent, treat or manage disease. Some are used alone, while others are combined with medication.
Pear’s reSET, approved in 2017, delivers cognitive behavioral therapy to those with substance abuse disorder in outpatients settings. ReSET-O got approval the following year for opioid use disorder. And the biotech’s most recent OK came in March for an AI-powered chronic insomnia therapy called Somryst.
Somryst combines telemedicine visits with digital cognitive behavioral therapy, delivering recommendations — like when a patient should sleep and rise — at the touch of a screen. In clinical studies with more than 1,400 adults, the software reduced the amount of time taken to fall asleep by 45%, and cut the amount of time spent awake at night by 52%, according to Pear.
“We believe prescription digital therapeutics are creating a new category of medicine,” SoftBank partner Kirthiga Reddy said in a statement.
The recent Series D — led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 — will be used to accelerate reimbursement coverage and create a market access pathway for reSET, reSET-O and Somryst, Pear announced. The infusion comes nearly two years after the biotech hooked a $64 million C round led by Temasek. They also chipped in to the Series D, as well as 5AM Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, JAZZ Venture Partners, Novartis, CrimsoNox, EDBI, Forth Management, Pilot House, Sarissa Capital, Shanda Group, and QUAD Investment Management.
“This oversubscribed round of funding will allow us to continue to invest in the launches of our three commercial products to accelerate revenue growth, which we intend to reinvest in our robust pipeline and platform,” Pear president and CEO Corey McCann said in a statement.
In addition to its commercial products, Pear is working on others for illnesses like schizophrenia, PTSD and migraine disorder.
Novartis paired with Pear back in March 2018 to work on the schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis front. Its subsidiary Sandoz joined forces with the startup later that year to launch reSET. However, Sandoz pulled out of the deal in 2019, not long after CEO Richard Francis abruptly resigned. The move to sever ties with Pear represented a “reinforced focus on and capital allocation for Sandoz core business,” the company said at the time.
Pear isn’t the only digitally focused biotech to catch investors’ eyes this year. Medable bagged a $91 million Series C to build out its virtual clinical trial platform at the end of last month, and Science 37 closed a $40 million funding round to do the same in August. Science 37’s round included investments from Novartis, Amgen and Sanofi Ventures.