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

Pear Therapeutics, developer of prescription apps to treat addiction and insomnia, has landed $80 million through a venture capital round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.

The former Fierce 15 winner also raised money from new investors including Forth Management, Pilot House, Sarissa Capital, Shanda Group and QUAD Investment Management. In addition, Novartis—following various ties to the company over the past few years—alongside Temasek, 5AM Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, JAZZ Venture Partners, CrimsoNox and EDBI all returned to back its series D round.

The proceeds will help support Pear’s efforts to secure reimbursement coverage for its three commercial products—reSET and reSET-O for substance and opioid use as well as the recently launched Somryst app for chronic sleeplessness—with the goal of forging the first market access pathways for prescription digital therapeutics.

“SoftBank Investment Advisers represents an ideal partner to support Pear as we build the digital therapeutics industry,” Pear President and CEO Corey McCann, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement. “This oversubscribed round of funding will allow us to continue to invest in the launches of our three commercial products to accelerate revenue growth, which we intend to reinvest in our robust pipeline and platform.”

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

Pear launched its Somryst app in mid-November through a direct-to-patient telehealth model that combines virtual visits with a prescriber and digital delivery of the app. The company says its strategy aims to reach the estimated 30 million people in the U.S. suffering from chronic insomnia.

Previously in its commercial history, Pear once pursued a profit-splitting, co-promotion deal with Novartis’ Sandoz unit, with sales teams tasked with placing its reSET and reSET-O apps in the hands of physicians specializing in addiction treatment—marking the first time a major drugmaker would push a digital therapy.

However, that deal ended after a year and a half in October 2019 as Novartis began to “de-integrate” and refocus the generics division away from the mother ship. Pear also previously worked with Novartis to develop digital therapies for patients with schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, though currently Pear is advancing those projects without a partner.

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“We believe prescription digital therapeutics are creating a new category of medicine,” said Kirthiga Reddy, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “Pear Therapeutics has combined biology and software to pioneer the first end-to-end platform for prescription digital products, with an initial focus on serious psychiatric diseases.”