A new company out of London called Bold Health is combining digital tools and cognitive behavioral therapy with the aim of helping patients improve their gut health.
Earlier this month, the company launched its first product, Zemedy, an app targeted at treating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms through a combination of CBT, hypnotherapy exercises and stress management techniques.
“There is a big link between physical healthcare and mental health,” Dr. Jossy Onwude, chief medical officer and chief product officer at Bold Health, told MobiHealthNews.
The company was started by Onwude and CEO Elena Mustatea after they met at the social impact accelerator Zinc. Mustatea’s experience with IBS and the research around the mind-body connection inspired the company, Onwude said.
While the company’s first tool was targeted at IBS, Onwude said that in the future the startup plans on expanding into different digestive conditions.
“We decided not to just be in treatment for IBS but around the digestive health space in general,” Onwude said. “Conditions we are looking at are psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease.”
WHY IT MATTERS
IBS impacts 10% to 15% of the worldwide population, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. It can impact people of any age but is more common in women than men.
This startup is angling itself as a tool to help people manage the condition and expand access.
THE LARGER TREND
While the gut health space is still lagging behind others in the digital health space like diabetes and mental health industry, it is starting to gain traction.
In June, Israeli company DayTwo raised $31 million in Series B financing for its service, which analyzes gut microbiomes to assist with nutrition and glycemic control.
Astarte is a gut health company focused on babies. It is currently building a suite of tools for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) called NICUtrition. The software suite will be built on a proprietary database of feeding protocols, microbial profiles and clinical information which will power predictive analytics that can advise care teams on protocols and treatment plans.
“We develop treatments that utilize digital health technology to address hard to treat medical conditions that require an integrative approach between biological and psychological interventions – essentially the mind and body,” Onwude said in a statement. “Because of the digital nature of our products, data can be shared and analyzed to understand and stratify patients, inform interventions and enhance further outcomes.”