AppliedVR, a digital therapeutics company leading the way in developing the next generation of Virtual Reality (VR) digital medicine, has announced $29 million in Series A funding. This injection now brings its total funds raised to-date to $35 million. The round, which includes notable investors F-Prime Capital, JAZZ Venture Partners, Sway Ventures, GSR Ventures, Magnetic Ventures, and Cedars-Sinai, will feed the company’s growth as it pursues complete FDA approval over the next year. With this Series A investment, AppliedVR plans to continue EaseVRx’s FDA approval pathway, conduct more payer pilots, develop its product pipeline, and build its clinical, marketing, and sales teams.
VR Health Applications – An Outcomes-Based Approach
Chronic pain affects nearly one-third of all Americans. It is 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 illustrated the need for more digital therapeutic treatments delivered safely in patients’ homes.
Research has amply shown that distraction—whether with video games, books, or other activities—makes medical treatments more manageable and enjoyable for patients. But immersive VR also has the benefit of causing patients to underestimate the length of time spent in treatment and may be more effective at reducing anxiety and increasing comfort than other, less fully immersive, methods of distraction. As research continues to demonstrate that VR can provide an enhanced therapeutic effect through its distinctive attributes, VR technology will become more immersive, effective, and scalable than ever before.
AppliedVR – Delivering Hope Through Drug-Free Care
AppliedVR is a digital therapeutics leader pioneering virtual reality-based treatments that address the complexity of chronic pain. AppliedVR’s program has helped more than 60,000 patients to manage their expectations of pain. The technology is trusted by more than 200 healthcare provider organizations globally, including Geisinger and Cleveland Clinic. Both Geisinger and Cleveland Clinic are advancing separate NIDA-funding clinical trials to study VR as an opioid-sparing tool for acute and chronic pain. The company has also partnered with the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) to explore how digital therapeutic platforms, including virtual and augmented reality, can improve underserved populations’ care access. AppliedVR also is engaged with multiple payers, testing VR as a cost-effective solution for treating chronic pain.
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. 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.Matthew Stoudt, co-founder and CEO of AppliedVR
Digital Therapeutics VR Platform – What’s in the Box
AppliedVR provides virtual reality-based treatments aimed at comprehensively treating chronic pain. In combination with well-established cognitive-behavioral therapies with mindfulness exercises, AppliedVR’s EaseVRx solution 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 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.
AppliedVR’s digital therapeutic platform includes hardware and software optimized for the unique needs of healthcare. According to the company’s website, the design of the products and solution ensures safety, compliance, and an enhanced user experience supported by user testing and clinical research. Using the SootheVR example previously on AppliedVR’s website, relevant components in the solution include:
- Ready to use out of the box
- Gaze-based control ideal for those with a limited range of motion
- Custom Amplifier to help visualize your breath
- High resolution 4K screen
- HIPAA-compliant platform
- Easily wipeable face pad
The AppliedVR Approach – VR Experiences Imagined with Medical Experts
AppliedVR is the first on-demand, clinically validated, all-in-one therapeutic VR platform for acute and chronic pain. The company also claims to be the first to make virtual reality widely available in clinical care. AppliedVR content development uses an evidence-based approach in collaboration with psychologists, researchers, doctors, patients, and designers. The proprietary content recommendation engine focuses on general pain and anxiety management, providing fast, on-demand access. Through this approach, the VR experience has 40+ clinically researched modules with proprietary biofeedback-enabled breath training. An additional significant feature of the AppliedVR solution includes access to VR for those with limited mobility (hands-free, gazed-based control).
Digital Therapeutics that facilitate innovative methods and modalities to improve care, enable lifestyle change, and create efficiencies are progressing quickly. Through modulation of both the sensory and emotional aspects of pain processing, VR can reduce pain-related activity in all five regions of the brain associated with pain. VR has demonstrated adequate management of acute and chronic health conditions, such as anxiety or pain, without many pharmaceutical options’ side effects or addictive tendencies. With that, AppliedVR is building on decades of clinical research on virtual reality conducted across an array of disease areas, including pain, stroke, behavioral health, and neurodegeneration.
AppliedVR’s outcomes-based approach builds on the evidence that VR alters the brain’s perception of pain. According to the company’s website, the unique ability of VR to command our senses via a highly immersive and interactive constructed environment makes it an effective tool for the designed modulation of attention. Over 30 years of academic research suggest that this redirection of attention may play a vital role in managing severe pain and anxiety conditions.
AppliedVR is a leader in digital therapeutics, pioneering virtual reality-based treatments that address the complexity of chronic pain. Our mission is to empower patients with the tools to live life, beyond chronic pain. Rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness, AppliedVR’s EaseVRx is the first VR-based prescription therapeutic to receive Breakthrough Device Designation by the FDA. Offering a comprehensive approach that encompasses the biological, psychological and social factors that influence how people experience chronic pain, EaseVRx enables patients to change the way they process pain and develop new, positive habits and coping skills that improve quality of life. Patients can easily self-administer EaseVRx in the comfort of their own homes, at any time, without restrictions tied to a healthcare professional’s schedule — advancing remote care as well as quality, equity and efficiency in chronic pain management.