Company will use funds to scale its Cara Care digital therapeutic for life-interrupting digestive diseases
Digital health company HiDoc Technologies GmbH, dba Cara Care, today announced that it has raised $7 million in Series A funding. The round was led by JJDC and Barcelona-based VC firm Asabys Partners through its fund Sabadell Asabys Health Innovation Investments SCR, SA, with participation from existing investor Atlantic Labs. Proceeds will be used to expand the market launch of the company’s Cara Care mobile companion app for people suffering from digestive health issues, with a primary focus on the United States.
Available in German and English, Cara Care offers a unique approach to gastrointestinal healthcare, filling a gap in the journey of patients who spend most of their time outside general physician (GP) and gastroenterologist (GI) offices, especially those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). To date, Cara Care has helped more than 400,000 people in Germany and the U.S. manage the symptoms of digestive diseases such as IBS, IBD, GERD, food intolerances, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, with a 78.8 percent treatment success rate.
“Abasys Partners’ investment reflects the impact of a technological convergence in healthcare that is delivering therapies beyond traditional prescription medications, where smart apps work in concert with the pharmaceutical industry to provide clinically meaningful benefit to patients in their everyday lives,” said Josep LI. Sanfeliu, managing partner and co-founder, Asabys Partners. “Cara Care’s advanced digital technologies, which include big data, AI, and UX, are all embedded in the patient-centric Cara Care mobile app, helping patients improve their lives with more efficient, personalized and clinically validated treatments.”
A recent report estimates that annual healthcare expenditures for gastrointestinal disease in the United States total $136 billion, which is more than that for heart disease ($113 billion), trauma ($103 billion), and mental health ($99 billion)[i]. Though often unseen, gastrointestinal diseases can cause a lifetime of physical and mental suffering for patients, in many cases beginning at a young age. Even with costly medication under the care of a GI specialist, digestive diseases can cause mental health challenges, social stigma, and loss of productivity and wages for sufferers. Cara Care offers a new digital dimension to therapies that were previously offline, helping to enhance treatment, generate real-world evidence, and created individual treatment plans to improve quality of life for digestive disease patients.
“Digital therapeutics is the next big movement in healthcare, and Cara Care is one of the most advanced companies in this field. Soon the Cara Care app will be able to help millions of patients with digestive diseases in Europe and the U.S.,” added Christophe Maire, founder and CEO of Atlantic Labs.
Founded in 2016 by André Sommer and Jesaja Brinkmann, Cara Care developed its digital app to span medication management, dietary and mental health interventions to improve gastrointestinal health. In 2018, the company extended its offer in Germany to offer paid remote medical nutrition therapy, which is already subsidized by 90 percent of German health insurance companies. In this market, certified nutritionists advise patients in a series of telemedical sessions, which increases flexibility and efficiency for both the company and the patient.
“It is clear that digital therapeutics will play a crucial future role in the treatment of individuals with chronic gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS. I believe that these digital treatments will help improve patient compliance to medication and lifestyle changes, delivering better outcomes across this patient population,” said Anthony J. Lembo, M.D., professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the GI Motility Laboratory at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
In addition to the market expansion of the app, Cara Care plans to use the Series A funding to conduct additional scientific research to better understand digestive diseases, symptom triggers and flare-up causes. Concurrently, the company is working to expand existing partnerships and create new ones with other important players in the patient journey, including those in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic laboratories, and food manufacturing industries.
“We believe mobile software can have a significant therapeutic effect on these patients, as GI diseases are highly influenced by factors such as diet, stress, mental health and physical activity,” said Cara Care’s André Sommer, M.D. “By identifying individual triggers for symptoms and flares, we can tailor interventions to reduce symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. Based on the health and lifestyle data, it is further possible to optimize medication intake, increase adherence and match the right therapy with the right patient.”
About Cara Care
Berlin-based digital health company HiDoc Technologies GmbH, dba Cara Care, offers the Cara Care digital therapeutic app for digestive diseases, which spans medication management as well as dietary and mental health interventions to improve gastrointestinal health. The Cara Care app – available for iOS and Android – helps fill the gaps between doctor visits for gastrointestinal disease patients. Part of the Microsoft Accelerator, winner of the GlaxoSmithKline Transforming the Future of Self-Care Challenge in the category “Digital Health Technologies,” and featured in Healthline’s Best Gut Health Apps in 2019, Cara Care has raised more than $9 Million in funding to date. For more information, visit https://cara.care/en.
[i] “Burden and Costs of Gastrointestinal Disease in the U.S.,” NJEM Journal Watch, John R. Saltzman, MD reviewing Peery AF et al. Gastroenterology 2018 Oct 10. https://www.jwatch.org/na47723/2018/10/23/burden-and-costs-gastrointestinal-disease-us