Akili collects $55M to support pipeline development, regulatory submission

By Dave Muoio
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This morning, Boston-based Akili Interactive Labs announced the closure of a $55 million Series C funding round. The investment was led by Temasek, with participation from Baillie Gifford, Amgen Ventures, M Ventures, JAZZ Venture Partners, Canepa Advanced Healthcare Fund, and Brooklands Capital Strategies.

According to the company, this new funding will be used to support development, regulatory submission, and commercialization of Akili’s pipeline of digital therapy candidates. This includes AKL-T01, a video game specifically designed to treat pediatric ADHD that the company will soon be filing for FDA clearance.

“We are fortunate to be supported by such experienced investors, who bring successful long-term track records in innovative technology, medical device and pharmaceutical investment,” Eddie Martucci, Akili’s cofounder and CEO, said in a statement. “We are thrilled with the vote of confidence in the potential of our technology platform to redefine healthcare, and we’re excited about the progress we continue to make towards turning that vision into a reality for patients.”

Akili develops prescription digital treatments that are delivered through video game experiences. For instance, AKL-T01 (also known as Project: Evo ADHD Treatment) has users navigate an alien avatar down a course by tilting a mobile device back and forth. While navigating the alien, the user must also respond to targets by tapping the screen. The app keeps track of movements and can therefore monitor the user’s behavior and quickly adapt to the player. All the while, sensory stimuli delivered through the game are engaging specific neural circuitry to treat the player’s cognitive condition.

In December, the company announced positive results from the largest clinical trial of its leading treatment, and that it would be using these results to support its bid for FDA clearance.

“We’re obviously excited that we hit the primary endpoint with high statistical significance,” Martucci said at the time. “We were really pleased with the fact that we had no serious adverse effects and only a single child dropped out from the 180 children that were on our treatment product.”

Alongside filing AKL-T01, Akili said in the funding announcement that it is anticipating several more significant clinical milestones for its other products within the coming year. These include results from a randomized controlled pilot of AKL-T02, for high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders, in May; data from a phase 2 study of AKL-T03, for cognitive dysfunction in adults with depression; and a pilot randomized controlled trial for treatment of cognitive dysfunction in multiple sclerosis.

In April, the company also announced that it had been granted patents for the mechanics of these interventions in the US and Japan, which at the time Martucci said demonstrated “that active technology components of a new digital medicine can be protected just as you would a novel pharmaceutical, which we believe is essential for the advancement of the field toward becoming mainstream medicine.”