Oncomfort, a Belgian company using therapeutic virtual reality to relieve pain and anxiety, has raised €10 million ($11.8 million) in Series A funding. Debiopharm and Crédit Mutuel Innovation led the round, which also saw support from existing shareholders and Belgium's Walloon Region Regional Investment Company.
WHAT IT DOES
Oncomfort was founded in 2017, and launched its SedaKit for Digital Sedation product as an alternative to medications in June of last year.
Packaged within a stand-alone briefcase containing the branded VR headset, the company says it can deliver therapies that either distract or deeply sedate patients during minor procedures, uncomfortable diagnostics or surgeries. These VR hypnotherapy modules are available in 12 different languages, and are intended for patients age six or more.
The company's approach is supported by a handful of publications and posters, and according to the company more than 60,000 have received the VR therapy since last year's launch.
WHAT IT'S FOR
Oncomfort CEO Mario Huyghe said in a statement that the company will be looking to continue development of the platform, make new hires and accelerate its push into new European and American markets.
Clinical applications of VR range from behavioral health to neurorehabilitation, but pain treatments are by far the most established in literature. With a host of vendors reaching out to providers, healthcare VR advocates are now looking to implementation and reimbursement as the next challenges for the digital treatment modality. Of course, COVID-19 has also introduced its fair share of hurdles – and opportunities – to therapeutic VR vendors.
ON THE RECORD
“We are delighted to find a scientifically validated digital tool to support the overall journey of patients, which frequently includes various levels of pain, anxiety and fear," Thierry Mauvernay, president of Debiopharm's board of directors, said in a statement. "The fact that advanced [VR] in combination with hypnotherapy and integrative therapeutic techniques can be used to effectively sedate patients is truly impressive and offers an interesting option for patients to find physical and emotional relief,”