Digital diabetes app maker Better Therapeutics shutters operations, lays off staff

For better or for worse, digital treatment developer Better Therapeutics has announced it will wind down operations, lay off its employees and seek a buyer for its remaining assets.

The San Francisco-based company had also been facing removal of its shares from the Nasdaq; rather than present a plan to regain compliance with the stock market’s trading rules, Better Therapeutics’ board of directors this week opted to request that its securities be delisted.

The company originally went public through an April 2021 special purpose acquisition company deal, handing it a valuation of $187 million. Its stock price dropped about 80% on today’s news, from 20 cents down to about 3 cents.

The decision comes nearly one year after the company let go about 35% of its head count in March 2023 as part of a plan to extend its cash runway. At that time, Better Therapeutics was also looking to refocus its staff from R&D to commercialization as it waited for the FDA to complete an extended review of its prescription digital therapeutic for people with Type 2 diabetes.

The company late last year also announced companywide pay cuts alongside other measures aimed at keeping things running as it sought payer coverage, including amendments to its debt obligations.

The company claimed a de novo clearance from the agency for its AspyreRx program in July 2023, allowing it to begin offering digital cognitive behavioral therapy to patients looking to better control their blood sugar—while a clinical study also demonstrated improvements in blood pressure, weight and quality of life.

Since then, Better Therapeutics has announced a partnership with Glooko to help boost AspyreRx’s public adoption—as well as, just earlier this month, a plan to offer the program through 1,400 federally qualified health centers as a step toward its goal of logging 1 million prescriptions.

Meanwhile, the company enrolled 1,000 participants in AspyreRx’s real-world evidence registry, and, in February, it obtained a breakthrough designation from the FDA for a separate cognitive behavioral therapy program aimed at advanced liver disease

The folding of the company somewhat follows the trajectory of fellow prescription app developer Pear Therapeutics. Both received de novo clearances from the FDA for cognitive behavioral therapy programs, and both went public in during the SPAC frenzy of 2021; Pear filed for bankruptcy and shuttered operations in April 2023, after being unable to secure strong reimbursements for its programs aimed at substance use disorders. A month later, its assets were auctioned off for $6 million.