It's a virtual world: Curebase, AppliedVR team up on VR-based, at-home clinical trials

Virtual reality, meet virtual clinical trials. 

AppliedVR will test its virtual-reality-based digital therapeutics across five studies using the decentralized clinical trials software from Curebase, the companies said Thursday. 

The life sciences industry has immersed itself in decentralized, or virtual, trials since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, now, AppliedVR wants to further test its 3D, immersive headset and goggles in patients' homes. 

RELATED: AppliedVR clears major regulatory hurdle to use virtual reality to treat chronic pain

The Los Angeles medical technology company got the FDA breakthrough designation for its platform's use in chronic lower back pain and treatment-resistant fibromyalgia last October. AppliedVR works with more than 240 hospitals to provide the VR therapy for acute pain after surgery or during hospitalization.

The two startups are linking arms after each having raised series A rounds earlier this year. AppliedVR snagged $29 million in March, and Curebase picked up $15 million in May.

Curebase will help AppliedVR test the platform across the digital therapeutics company's entire pipeline, which also includes earlier-stage trials as a replacement for opioid prescriptions, treatment for generalized anxiety and other undisclosed indications, said Curebase CEO Tom Lemberg in an interview with Fierce Biotech. 

RELATED: Curebase nabs $15M for siteless trials that revolve 'around the patient's lifestyle'

AppliedVR already has partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic, Boston Children's Hospital, the University of California, San Francisco and other organizations to test its digital therapeutics. 

The collaboration with Curebase gives AppliedVR access to remote patient recruitment through tools like social media, telemedicine capabilities to communicate with the principal investigator from home, electronic consent, self-reported data transfers and other decentralized trial capabilities, Lemberg said. The pact is initially set for one year, but Lemberg said it "will hopefully be a much longer partnership." 

“I think the reason there’s a natural fit with digital therapeutics is because, think about what their products are, they’re products that patients use at home, they’re often behavioral. So, to do all of that in a doctor’s office or in an academic hospital, it just doesn’t fit the actual therapy," Lemberg said. Curebase has worked with about half a dozen other digital therapeutics makers, the CEO added.