Repairing neurological damage caused by stroke, Parkinson’s disease and other brain conditions isn’t all fun and games, but digital therapeutics developers like MindMaze are aiming to bring a bit of levity to what can otherwise be a difficult and stressful process.
MindMaze’s platform comprises a series of video games that, when combined with a motion-tracking camera and customized to a patient’s individual condition and needs, can support both rehabilitation and restoration of brain function.
Several of the programs have already been cleared for use in the U.S. and Europe, and a new line of funding will now help make them even more widely available. The financing came courtesy of London-based AlbaCore Capital Group and totaled $125 million.
That builds on MindMaze’s previous megaround, which raked in $100 million in early 2016 and was led by the U.K.’s Hinduja Group. With the addition of the new funding, MindMaze has now achieved the elusive unicorn status, with an estimated valuation of $1.5 billion, per Bloomberg.
AlbaCore’s contributions will allow MindMaze to continue commercializing its existing offerings, develop new ones and send them through clinical trials and regulatory review.
That development work will likely involve some branching out. As CEO Tej Tadi, Ph.D., said in a statement, “One avenue to pursue will be to partner with pharmaceutical companies to promote brain repair by combining our digital therapeutic neurorestorative approach with emerging drug discovery.”
MindMaze’s digital therapeutics for neuro-restoration span a trio of games addressing Alzheimer’s disease, aging, post-stroke upper extremity impairment and Parkinson’s. In MindPod Dolphin, for example, users wear an anti-gravity vest to make an arm affected by stroke feel weightless, allowing them to focus on honing their fine motor skills while exploring a virtual underwater environment.
In the neuro-rehabilitation category, MindMaze’s flagship product is MindMotion, which has been cleared by the FDA for both in-clinic and at-home use. The program includes 17 games that are all designed to improve mobility and motor skills in patients with neurological conditions, helped along with feedback gathered by optical sensors and an embedded telemedicine service.
With the credibility of multiple $100 million-plus funding rounds and a handful of FDA clearances and CE marks under its belt—not to mention the financial and advisory support of big names like Leonardo DiCaprio—MindMaze is also beginning to plot out plans to go public. As for what that debut will look like, Tadi told Bloomberg the company is still deciding whether to follow the traditional IPO route or jump on the increasingly popular special purpose acquisition company train.
The digital therapeutics category has become a magnet for SPAC deals as of late. Pear Therapeutics, the de facto leader of the group, laid out plans in June to go public in a reverse merger worth a whopping $1.6 billion—just a few months after it scooped up another $80 million in its series D funding.
Pear’s announcement came shortly after Better Therapeutics, maker of prescription-only, smartphone-based diabetes treatments, sealed the deal with a blank-check company of its own. In that April deal, Better linked up with Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp. II to go public in a SPAC deal that would ultimately value the company at $187 million.