Big Health hauls in $75M to ramp up commercialization, launch new digital mental health therapeutics

Big Health, the maker of app-based digital therapeutics for insomnia and anxiety, has locked in a $75 million series C funding round headed by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

The San Francisco-based company said it plans to use the new money to ramp up its commercial growth and product strategy, setting a tentative goal to launch six new digital therapeutics by 2024.

"Although studies show that three-quarters of people prefer a non-drug approach to mental health care, the vast majority of mental health patients today receive medications, often associated with substantial risk of harm or side effects," Peter Hames, co-founder and CEO of Big Health, said in a statement. "Our digital therapeutics offer an equitable, safe and effective non-drug alternative at a huge scale, and our products are backed by leading clinical evidence, with more than 28,000 participants across our clinical studies.”

Founded in 2012, the company made its name with a cognitive behavioral therapy app called Sleepio. Designed to help users’ poor-quality sleep and insomnia, the digital tool has seen a wealth of employer adoption and supportive clinical evidence over the years, leading the company to release a follow-up for insomnia, called Daylight, in early 2019.

Big Health—which was recently named a winner of Fierce Healthcare’s Fierce 15 of 2022—sees its products as a scalable solution to the growing demand for mental health treatment.

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Payers on both sides of the Atlantic appear to have a similar opinion, with Big Health’s offerings previously picking up key coverage through CVS Caremark’s pharmacy benefit management business and, as of October, a launch to all Scottish adults through National Health Service (NHS) Scotland.

“With strong commercial partnerships, including the ability to bill through the [pharmacy benefit manager], we now have the rails in place to improve health outcomes at an enormous scale,” Hames said. “We are proud to announce our Series C funding, which will further fuel our growth and the mass adoption of digital therapeutics.”

Joining SoftBank Vision Fund 2 in the most recent round was fellow new backer ArrowMark Partners, as well as prior investors Octopus Ventures, Gilde Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and Morningside Ventures.

To date, the digital therapeutics maker has more than 10 million people using its products and has raised just under $130 million from investors.

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"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light significant gaps in the current approach to mental health care and has accentuated the need for new and transformative treatment modalities," John Cassidy, investment director of life sciences and health tech at SoftBank Investment Advisers and a new Big Health board member, said in a statement. "We believe Big Health is leading the way in bringing evidence-based, effective, low-cost mental health care to millions via their smartphone. We’re excited to partner with Peter, [co-founder and chief scientist Colin Espie] and the entire Big Health team in their vision to make non-drug alternative treatments commonplace across the care pathway.”

Big Health is riding a wave of record fundraising that has swept through the digital health space in recent years.

Per a recent Rock Health report, digital mental health startups nearly doubled their haul from investors from $2.7 billion in 2020 to $5.1 billion in 2021—well ahead of digital health startups tackling other clinical indications. Investments in digital products supporting disease treatment also grew 2.6x from 2020 to 2021 as coverage pathways for prescription digital therapeutics widened, according to the venture fund.