Palo Alto company Limbix grabs $9M to develop a digital therapeutic for teens with depression

GSR Ventures led the round with participation from Sequoia Capital, Storm Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners and BIXINK Therapeutics.
By Laura Lovett
03:32 pm
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Digital mental health company Limbix scored $9 million in Series A funding. The new round was led by GSR Ventures with participation from sequoia Capital, Storm Ventures, NexGen Venture Partners and BIXINK Therapeutics. 

This comes roughly four months after the Palo Alto-based startup was selected as one of 27 digital health companies in MassChallenge HealthTech’s 2020 accelerator class.

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The company is focused on creating a digital mental health tool for teens, and works through a mobile app. Its flagship product, Limbix Spark, is designed as a program that delivers cognitive behavioral therapy. 

“Unfortunately, there is a very long wait list right now to see a mental health professional. So there need to be other options to increase access to care,” Limbix research director Jessica Lake told MobiHealthNews at the MassChallenge's HealthTech Open Night in January. “So right now, we are focused on ... a product for depression [product].”

The company started out working with virtual reality and had created a VR tool kit for therapists to use with patients. However, the company removed the VR component of Spark in late 2019. 

Eventually the plan is to go through the FDA regulation process and offer this as a prescription digital therapeutic. 

WHAT IT’S FOR 

The new money will go towards developing the product and testing it. 

“In the coming years we’ll be running more trials on Limbix Spark, forming commercialization partnerships, and working towards FDA clearance on Limbix Spark as a Class II medical device. Having GSR Ventures’ guidance along this path is incredibly helpful for our business,” Ben Lewis, CEO and cofounder of Limbix, said in a statement. 

MARKET SNAPSHOT 

We are seeing a rise in interest in prescription digital therapeutic companies. In 2017 it landed a de novo for its digital therapeutic reSETwhich treats substance abuse disorders. This designation made it the first software-only digital therapeutic for the FDA to clear with claims of improved clinical outcomes. 

Late last month the FDA loosened up its regulations for digital psychiatric disorders devices during the coronavirus crisis. This led to multiple digital therapeutics coming onto the market early. 

For example, Akili has fast-tracked and released its approval-pending digital therapeutic, Endeavor, for children with ADHD. Pear also released its schizophrenia treatment for limited distribution. 

THE LARGER TREND 

“We are thrilled to partner with such a passionate team working to improve mental health treatment for those who need it most. The Limbix team focuses on rigorous clinical data, and their combination of strong medical, research, and technology backgrounds make them uniquely positioned to succeed,” Justin Norden, partner at GSR Ventures, said in a statement. 

Editor's note: The original article stated that Spark was a VR and mobile product. It has been updated to state that the VR component is no longer a part of the product. 

 

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