December 14, 2022 – Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE), the independent investment company created to found, fund and build transformational businesses via its partnership with the University of Oxford, has recently announces that its Health Tech portfolio company OxfordVR, a provider of virtual reality (VR) treatments for serious mental illnesses, will merge with BehaVR, a provider of VR digital wellness and digital therapeutics experiences.
In conjunction with the merger, OSE also co-led a new Series B funding round with an initial close of $13 million, with participation from Confluent Health, Accenture Ventures, Chrysalis Ventures and Thornton Capital.
The combination of the two digital therapeutic companies will create the largest VR delivery platform for evidence-based digital behavioral therapies and will help to accelerate the combined company’s growth strategy.
According to the World Health Organization, roughly one billion people live with a mental health condition globally. At any severity level, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety impact quality of life, relationships, livelihood and sense of belonging. 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 US seeks to expand its behavioral health workforce, existing mental health care providers are increasingly overworked.
VR is helping to address some of these problems, as it 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, according to the companies.
BehaVR’s 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. The companies state that 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.”
For more information on the merger between the two companies, which will continue to operate under the BehaVR brand, click here.
Image credit: BehaVR / OxfordVR
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Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.