Virtual reality mental and behavioral health companies BehaVR and OxfordVR today announced their merger, supported by an initial $13 million in Series B funding led by Optum Ventures and Oxford Science Enterprises, with participation from Confluent Health, Accenture Ventures, Chrysalis Ventures and Thornton Capital.
The combination of the two digital therapeutic companies creates the largest VR delivery platform for evidence-based digital behavioral therapies and accelerates the combined company’s growth strategy.
Globally, roughly one billion people are living with a mental health condition, including nearly 20% of U.S. adults. For people with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), ordinary tasks such as using public transit, spending time with family or leaving home can be difficult. At the same time, as the U.S. seeks to expand its behavioral health workforce, existing mental health care providers are increasingly overworked. The self-reported burnout rate among psychiatrists is 78%.
Virtual reality allows clinicians to create multi-sensory patient experiences that the brain processes as real. These interventions are tailored to each patient’s unique behavioral health needs. Operating under the BehaVR brand, the comprehensive VR treatment platform will help providers, payers and employers deliver and increase access to enhanced behavioral care.
BehaVR’s comprehensive platform will treat anxiety, stress, pain and addiction using real-time biometrics, protocols and machine learning models. OxfordVR, whose gameChange product was recently granted FDA Breakthrough Device designation, will treat patients using automated cognitive-behavioral VR therapy. These therapies can be delivered by a wide range of clinical staff, peer group members and at home.
The combined company will be led by BehaVR Founder and CEO Aaron Gani. Gani’s leadership team will include psychiatrist, researcher and author Dr. Daniel Freeman, PhD.
“The demand for mental health services far outstrips available resources. Providers need help, and that help is available today through our clinically-validated and evidence-based digital programs,” said Gani. “In bringing together two innovative virtual reality therapeutics teams, we are positioned to serve the widest range of patient populations possible at a time of intense need.”
“What an exciting time for digital innovation in mental health,” said Deepak Gopalakrishna, CEO of OxfordVR. “The combination of BehaVR and OxfordVR brings together two organizations leading work in virtual therapeutics to bring evidence-based, clinically validated treatments to patients.”