MedTech 50 star OxfordVR is to merge with US-based BehaVR under the latter’s brand.

The combination of the virtual reality mental and behavioural health companies will be supported by an initial $13 million in Series B funding.

It creates the largest VR delivery platform for evidence-based digital therapeutics.

The round is led by Optum Ventures and Oxford Science Enterprises, with participation from Confluent Health, Accenture Ventures, Chrysalis Ventures and Thornton Capital.

Globally, roughly one billion people are living with a mental health condition, including nearly 20% of US adults. For people with serious mental illness, ordinary tasks such as using public transit, spending time with family or leaving home can be difficult. 

At the same time, as the US seeks to expand its behavioural health workforce, existing mental health care providers are increasingly overworked. 

Virtual reality allows clinicians to create multi-sensory patient experiences that the brain processes as real. These interventions are tailored to each patient’s unique behavioural health needs. 

Operating under the BehaVR brand, the companies say their comprehensive VR treatment platform will help providers, payers and employers deliver and increase access to enhanced behavioural care.

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BehaVR’s comprehensive platform will treat anxiety, stress, pain and addiction using real-time biometrics, protocols and machine learning models. OxfordVR, whose gameChange product was recently granted FDA Breakthrough Device designation, will treat patients using automated cognitive-behavioural VR therapy. 

These therapies can be delivered by a wide range of clinical staff, peer group members and at home.

The combined company will be led by BehaVR Founder and CEO Aaron Gani. Gani’s leadership team will include psychiatrist, researcher and author Dr Daniel Freeman.

“The demand for mental health services far outstrips available resources. Providers need help, and that help is available today through our clinically-validated and evidence-based digital programs,” said Gani. 

“In bringing together two innovative virtual reality therapeutics teams, we are positioned to serve the widest range of patient populations possible at a time of intense need.”

Deepak Gopalakrishna, CEO of OxfordVR, added: “What an exciting time for digital innovation in mental health… the combination of BehaVR and OxfordVR brings together two organisations leading work in virtual therapeutics to bring evidence-based, clinically validated treatments to patients.”

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