Pear Therapeutics Raises $20 Million Financing Round For Substance Abuse Digital Therapy Apps

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Boston-based digital health startup Pear Therapeutics has raised a $20 million equity financing round co-led by 5AM Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, and JAZZ Venture Partners, with additional investments from Bridge Builders Collaborative and several private investors. The company was founded in 2013, and closed an undisclosed venture round in 2015. The current funding round is Pear’s first publically disclosed outside investment.

Pear Therapeutics is taking an interesting approach to digital health app development. The company develops apps designed to supplement specific medications and treatment plans, and conducts randomized controlled trials to measure outcomes improvements among patients using its support apps. With this information, Pear plans to submit its apps to the FDA, seeking clearance to market them as an efficacy boosting tool to be used in conjunction with certain medications. The company has thus far developed apps to support the treatment of substance abuse, opiate dependence, and schizophrenia.

ReSET, the company’s substance abuse app, was tested in a population of 507 patients enrolled in substance abuse programs. Participants were randomized to receive either face-to-face therapy or a reduced amount of face-to-face therapy and Pear’s reSET app. Each group then received 12 weeks of outpatient treatment. In weeks nine through 12, urinalysis testing found that 58 percent of the patients using the reSET app were able to abstain from drug use, while only 30 percent of patients receiving face-to-face therapy had stayed sober until that point. Cohort retention also improved, with 70 percent of participants in the group using the reSET app still enrolled in the study at week 12, compared to 61 percent of the cohort offered only face-to-face counseling.

Pear is also working on an app for schizophrenia treatment that it has tested in 33 patients who were on anti-psychotic medications. In its initial test, patient symptoms were tracked for 30 days and patients using Pear’s app showed an average 8 percent reduction in symptoms. The app delivers reinforcement therapy, and is currently concluding a larger three-year study that tracks the symptoms of 400 patients.


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