The company is now valued at $ 2 billion, doubling its valuation in just five months
As dangerous as COVID is for the general population, it is deadly for people with comorbidities like asthma or heart disease. One of the most vulnerable areas is diabetics, who die from COVID twice as often as people without diabetes. In a country where nearly half of US adults have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, a solution like Virta Health is even more important.
The company, which aims to reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic metabolic diseases without the use of drugs or surgery, announced Monday a new $ 133 million funding round led by Tiger Global.
“Tiger has a great reputation and is known for supporting world-class companies in a variety of industries. Your investment will help Virta make diabetes reversal an option for everyone in need,” said Sami Inkinen, Co-Founder and CEO of Virta Health.
This final round of funding comes just five months after the company raised a $ 65 million round in December 2020. Part of the reason another big round started so quickly is because the business grew rapidly, almost 200% from last year. This was partly due to the pandemic: So many telemedicine and telemedicine companies grew tremendously over the past year as connecting with a doctor over the phone or video was the only way many people could get access to care.
“COVID-19 has also highlighted the fragility of our country’s metabolic health, as people with type 2 diabetes and obesity do far worse at contracting the virus,” Inkinen said.
“For Virta, this means that our treatment to reverse metabolic diseases like diabetes through virtual care is in high demand. We are attracting new customers and exponentially increasing the number of patient lives we cover. To meet that need, we need.” to expand our team. ”
Founded in 2014, Virta Health has developed a treatment that directly addresses the root cause of type 2 diabetes through a continuous remote care system using technology. This means doctors and clinicians make clinical decisions in real time in the back end, along with a clinical protocol to reverse insulin resistance.
Patients begin with lab work and a television visit with a doctor, which enables the company to develop a personalized treatment plan. Then there are two phases for Virta treatment, the first is the reversal of diabetes, followed by the longer-term success phase.
In the first phase, the company puts the doctors and scientists in each patient’s pocket via their smartphone so that they can remotely monitor the patient’s vital signs. Virta’s clinical team analyzes what matters and can use this as the basis to adjust medication, diet or behavior. This is repeated daily until the type 2 diabetes is reversed. For the long-term success phase, Virta then ensures that the diabetes remains in remission so that fewer clinical decisions and more daily problem solving are required to determine what could be upsetting the patient.
By using Virta, 94% of patients using insulin reduce or eliminate their dosage after one year, and 63% of all diabetes prescriptions are eliminated. This corresponds to an average decrease in HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar) of 1.3%. All of this translates into an estimated $ 5,000 per patient per year in gross savings for payers.
The round that Virta opened in December gave the company a valuation of $ 1.1 billion, a number that has nearly doubled to $ 2 billion with this final round of funding. This is a confirmation not only of market demand, but also of the success of Virta’s treatment, as well as a reflection of the current state of diabetes care and readiness for a newer, better future, according to Inkinen.
“In the US alone, $ 2 trillion has been spent on diabetes in the past decade with no improvement in population outcomes. Virta has shown the clinical and real-world evidence that this can be changed. Now it’s about scaling up.” he told me.
The new funding will serve to support the growth of Virta’s research and product innovation and drive adoption of the treatment platform. It is also being used to hire and expand the team across all business areas to meet the demand for diabetes reversal.
“We’re thrilled with this investment. But at the end of the day, money means little if you don’t use it to make an impact to improve patients’ lives. We are already doing that, but on a scale compared to the size of this one.” Problems in America and beyond, “stated Inkinen.
“We have the potential to really change the course of history here and actually improve the course of the diabetes epidemic. I am confident that this final round will help us get there.”
One of the big questions is whether once COVID is finally less threatening, virtual care will remain a large part of the healthcare ecosystem or whether patients will mostly return to their old habit of seeing a doctor.
For Inkinen, the answer is obvious: it’s here to stay and there are still early days on the way, even with the dramatic increase in adoption and investment over the past few months. He believes that in the future, more advanced forms of telehealth, similar to Virta’s continuous remote care model, will shift from disease management to prevention and reversal.
“In this model, patients are in contact with their providers several times a day and often receive proactive care when and where they need them. This model enables sustainable behavior change, prescribing medication and even reversing chronic illnesses.” he said.
“All in all, telemedicine is still in its infancy. By providing a diabetes reversal, we hope to advance and commercialize the next generation of virtual care that can have a real impact on the health of the population.”