Digital therapeutics company Kaia Health raises $10m to transform treatment of chronic pain conditions

Digital therapeutics pioneer Kaia Health, creator of the world’s leading back pain app, today announces it has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Balderton Capital to tackle some of the world’s most urgent health challenges, including a range of chronic conditions. The investment will be used to support Kaia Health’s US rollout, including a new office in New York City, and fund further clinical studies.

Since launching in 2016, Kaia Health, has created scientifically-validated digital treatments for a range of disorders including back pain and COPD. Its Kaia back pain app has been rapidly adopted by over 250,000 individuals as well as organisations across Europe and the US. This includes some of Europe’s biggest health insurance companies, such as BARMER, Germany’s largest, which offers the service free to members.

Kaia Health develops innovative machine learning and computer vision technology and works with medical experts to create a home-based, affordable and clinically-validated alternative to painkillers, delivered through a smartphone. The app offers users a daily plan which features physical exercises, relaxation techniques and medical educational content.

Additionally, therapy can be tailored for each user via a proprietary algorithm which adapts the exercise program to that individual’s input. Patent-pending motion tracking technology monitors and provides real-time audio feedback on patients’ exercise performance. Uniquely, Kaia’s app informs users in natural language if they’re performing exercises correctly, and how to improve them – without requiring any extra hardware.

‘Epidemic levels’

With back pain being one of the leading self-reported medical issues in the world, proven digital alternatives to painkillers cannot come soon enough. In America alone the condition is estimated to affect 100m people a year and is the number one reason why people are prescribed painkillers. The growing use of opioid-based painkillers has driven reliance on such drugs in the US to epidemic levels.

Meanwhile, in the UK, 30% of all GP appointments are Musculoskeletal-related, costing the NHS at least £5bn a year. Reducing the need to prescribe painkillers and the number of MSK interventions isn’t just a hugely beneficial outcome for patients, but it will also release considerable resources for healthcare institutions to use elsewhere.

Konstantin Mehl, co-founder and CEO of Kaia Health, says: “Over the last twelve months, we’ve demonstrated a universal, unmet need for affordable and accessible digital therapy products, such as our world’s first computer vision-powered back pain app. These improve treatment paths for patients and reduce costs for payers in healthcare around the globe. Balderton’s investment will support the next stage of our journey, as we expand across the US, undertake further clinical studies and cement our position as a global leader in the digital healthcare market.”

Dr. Mani Rafii, board member of BARMER, Germany’s largest health insurance company, says: “We have to deal with a problem such as back pain with easily accessible and effective care. The bespoke training with Kaia is straightforward and applicable. Relaxation units and information modules can be used at home or on the go, making the holistic therapy ideal for everyday use.”

James Wise, Partner at Balderton Capital adds: “Providing high-quality and affordable health care for everyone is an urgent issue. Kaia Health is helping to tackle this through its revolutionary technology, which we believe could offer millions of chronic-pain sufferers best-in-class clinical solutions from the comfort of their own homes. We look forward to being able to support Kaia on their mission to put treatment and pain management into the hands of patients and improve lives.”

Kaia Health is a member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products which works to expand access to high quality, evidence-based digital therapeutics to improve outcomes.

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