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The company will use the funding to expand its Prevent program to be more personalized
We don't talk about it much in this country for some reason, but diabetes and heart disease are huge problems. So big that three out of four Americans now have some type of chronic condition, costing more than $500 billion a year.
The thing is that at least half of them are related to lifestyle choices, which is where digital therapeutics company Omada Health comes in. The company seeks to help prevent these types of disease by helping patients change their behavior and patterns using insights about social networking, gaming, and behavioral science.
Frankly it's a better, and more cost effective, way to treat disease, and VCs agree with the approach, as the company announced on Wednesday that it has raised $48 million in Series C funding in a round.
The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, along with two of Omada's customers and health care leaders: Humana Inc. and Providence Health & Services. Prior investors US Venture Partners, Rock Health and Andreessen Horowitz, and new investors GE Ventures and dRx Capital, also contributed.
"Beyond the investment from some of the leading VC firms, it’s extremely gratifying to have two of our customers – and forward-thinking industry leaders in health care – invest with us," Sean Duffy, CEO and co-founder of Omada Health, told me. "The investment from Humana and Providence really feels validating from organizations that have worked with our team, know the health care industry extremely well, and have seen the effectiveness of our approach."
The company had raised $29.5 million in previous round, bringing its total funding to $77.5 million.
With this new funding, Omada says that it will use the funding to improve and enhancement Prevent, its flagship program.
The Prevent program is modeled around the National Institutes of Health study called the Diabetes Prevention Program and is designed to help participants modify their behavior and reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes. Users are paired up with a health coach who guides them through different lifestyle changes. They also get weekly activities on nutrition and exercise that they can complete from a mobile device. Additionally, Omada mails participants a wireless scale that automatically tracks their weight online, along with a pedometer and other nifty gifties.
"The next era for Prevent will involve continued personalization of the experience. Our amazing data science and product teams can already use insights from the program to identify who is responding well, who might need an extra nudge, and who might not be engaging on the level necessary to motivate real change," Duffy said.
"Part of the money we’ve raised will go towards expanding those capabilities, and using additional data-driven insights to improve the program, and expand the populations to whom we offer Prevent."
It will also go toward expanding the company’s clinical research and publishing schedule.
"Omada is currently the only digital health company in the chronic disease prevention space to publish peer-reviewed, two-year results. These results demonstrated that participants maintained clinically-meaningful reductions in body weight and average blood sugar (a1c hemoglobin). We think it’s critical for digital health companies to hold themselves to the highest standards of care – that includes publishing peer-reviewed outcomes," Duffy said.
"Next steps on our clinical agenda are larger, even more robust studies that answer questions about different sub-groups that use Prevent, how we can make Prevent even more effective, and additional positive effects we can have on participant health."
Omada also plans to continue to expand its leadership team, and will be scheduling additional clinical trials in the coming months.
Ultimately that Omada is doing is taking advantage of increasing recognition throughout the industry that effective, scalable prevention is the only long-term option to combat this epidemic, and that digital solutions must be part of the solution.
"Over the next few years, our vision for the future of health care includes making peer-reviewed, evidence-based digital programs standards of care for those at risk for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other chronic disease," said Duffy.
"We envision a future where a program like Prevent become an extension of the doctors office – a clinically-validated program that meets at-risk individuals where they live, and delivers meaningful results on their schedules."
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Omada Health is a Silicon Valley startup that is bringing the best in design and web technology to health care delivery. Omada's team is an interdisciplinary group of technologists, entrepreneurs and clinicians from Google, Amazon, IDEO, Harvard, Stanford and Columbia who are passionate about creating accessible technology to prevent disease.