Digital therapy maker Pear Therapeutics shakes the money tree, with plans to go public in $1.6B SPAC deal

Pear's pipeline has 14 product candidates including for alcohol use disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression, as well as chronic pain, migraines, multiple sclerosis, cancer and a range of chronic conditions. (Getty Images)

The digital treatment developer Pear Therapeutics is taking the SPAC track, going public through a deal expected to provide about $400 million in new funding as the company looks to expand its prescription apps to a wider range of conditions.

Those proceeds include $125 million gathered from private investments in Pear’s newfound public equity, plus $276 million held by Thimble Point Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company backed by the Pritzker Vlock Family Office, whose investment portfolio spans several medtech and biotech companies.

Following the closure of the deal—which represents a total pro forma equity value of about $1.6 billion—the newly combined Pear Holdings Corp. is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq, under the ticker PEAR, before the end of this year with its current management in place.

“In our view, Pear is at a commercial inflection point, with the potential for rapid expansion,” President and CEO Corey McCann said in a statement.

The company’s ultimate goal is to provide a platform for clinically validated prescription digital therapeutics, or PDTs, either as stand-alone software treatments or alongside pharmaceuticals for major medical conditions, McCann said.

RELATED: SoftBank's Vision Fund backs Pear Therapeutics in $80M VC round to forge new market paths for digital treatment apps

The private investment round includes participation from 5AM Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, Blue Water Science Advisors, Novartis’ dRx Capital, The Eleven Fund, FORTH Management, Health Innovation Capital, JAZZ Venture Partners, Neuberger Berman funds, Palantir, Pilot House, QUAD Investment Management, Sarissa Capital, Shanda Group, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Temasek and Trustbridge Partners.

Earlier this year, Pear announced plans to make its digital therapies a little more tangible, with the addition of wearable sensors and activity trackers through a partnership with the medical smartwatch maker Empatica, plus a digital pill project with etectRx for tracking drug adherence.

Previously, Pear focused on treating addiction and substance use disorders by offering cognitive behavioral therapy through its FDA-cleared reSET and reSET-O software programs, with the latter focused on opioids.

RELATED: Pear Therapeutics launches digital insomnia app through direct-to-patient telehealth model

In November 2020, the former Fierce 15 winner launched its app for insomnia, Somryst, through a direct-to-patient telehealth model, combining telemedicine visits with the digital delivery of the prescription app.

Late last year also saw Pear raise $80 million in a venture capital round backed by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, among others, to help support the company’s push to secure reimbursement coverage for Somryst and its reSET offerings. 

Around the same time, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review—the U.S. drug pricing watchdog known as ICER—threw cold water on multiple digital therapeutics for opioid use disorder, including reSET-O, saying it could not find strong evidence that the apps provided benefits over long time periods.

Pear, meanwhile, pointed to real-world data showing that users were able to complete the software’s therapy modules outside of normal clinic hours, with 88% passing drug screenings and 85% remaining in active treatment for months. An additional, retrospective economic analysis showed fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits. 

RELATED: Pear Therapeutics to take digital treatments physical with sensor, activity tracker deals

Since then, the company raised another $100 million through a series D round closed in March. Its pipeline currently has 14 product candidates, including for alcohol use disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression, as well as chronic pain, migraines, multiple sclerosis, cancer and a range of chronic conditions.