Virtual reality companies BehaVR and OxfordVR merge

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VR behavioral health platform BehaVR and OxfordVR, a VR platform for severe mental health issues, on Tuesday announced their merger. The companies say their combination creates the largest virtual reality healthcare delivery platform.

The companies, which will unite under the BehaVR brand, also garnered $13 million in Series B funding to support the merger. The round was led by Oxford Science Enterprises and Optum Ventures, with participation from Accenture Ventures, Confluent Health, Thornton Capital and Chrysalis Ventures.

BehaVR’s founder CEO Aaron Gani will lead the new company and its leadership team, which will include Dr. Daniel Freeman, a psychiatrist, researcher, author and OxfordVR’s founder. 

WHAT THEY DO

Tenn.-based BehaVR offers mental and behavioral health prescription digital therapeutics, including treatments for stress, pain, anxiety and addiction. The company also utilizes biometrics and machine learning models in its offerings.

England-based OxfordVR, a spinout of the University of Oxford, develops immersive treatments for mental and behavioral health issues. OxfordVR was built on 20 years of research done by Freeman at the University of Oxford, where he studied the potential of VR in creating automated psychological treatments.

In June, the company received FDA Breakthrough Device designation for its gameChange platform, which uses automated VR-based cognitive behavioral therapy to treat severe mental health conditions. 

“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,” BehaVR’s Gani said in a statement. “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.”

MARKET SNAPSHOT

In 2021, BehaVR and Japanese company Sumitomo Pharma signed a potential $163 million deal to create VR therapies to treat social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.

The partnership includes a multi-product, ​​multi-DTx deal, and is one of the largest collaborations between a pharma company and a VR firm in history. 

OxfordVR launched into the digital health scene in 2007. Along with gameChange, the company created OVR social engagement, designed to treat various mental health conditions associated with certain types of anxiety, including anxiety that accompanies agoraphobia, depression and schizophrenia.

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